The Worth County Board of Commissioners conducted a judiciary review last Tuesday regarding Fire Chief Jason Brooks after the Fire and Rescue Department brought forward numerous complaints. The commissioners called a special meeting to discuss their findings and vote on an action.
Commissioners first made a motion to keep Brooks and remove Assistant Chief Lyndel Ford; that motion failed 3 to 2.
A second motion was made to keep Brooks and Ford; that passed 3 to 2 with Chairman Matt Medders and Commissioner Bettye Bozeman voting against it.
"You all came to us five weeks ago and opened our eyes. I feel as though we've let the fire department down," says Medders.
"I'm sorry this decision came to what it did. If you have any problems, call me," Bozeman said to Fire and Rescue employees who were at the meeting. Bozeman says she has been supportive of the firefighters throughout the process.
Brooks says he is pleased with the decision and the opportunity to reunite the family at the fire department.
"It was the right decision," says Brooks. "It gives me and the assistant chief a chance to get back together and get the fire department back on track. I believe it's going to work, I believe it will work and we're going to make it work."
Brooks also says allegations made against him claiming he used alcohol on the job are not true. Firefighters have said Brooks used alcohol during work hours and allegedly purchased and consumed alcohol while in the Fire Chief truck.
Firefighters at the meeting say they do not agree with the board's decision but will stay and do the right thing.
Commissioner Billy McDonald addressed firefighters at the meeting -- as did all of the commissioners with their respective opinions -- saying he is disappointed with the firefighters, and that nothing was proven and nothing was accomplished during the many hours commissioners spent in executive sessions.
Commissioner Tony Hall says he thinks removing both Brooks and Ford would not have been the best decision and that keeping them both is the right decision for the time being.
"If I'm wrong with my vote, I'll be the first to apologize," says Hall.
He says another arrangement may be worked out in the future, such as observations of Brooks and Ford during a six month probationary period.