Maynard Arkansas: Regardless of which side a person takes in the ongoing war of words in and around the Maynard Volunteer Fire Department, one thing is for sure, it has divided this department.
The main focus right now is an act by the Mayor of Maynard Don Sikes to fire the Volunteer Fire Chief Randy Wisenbach on the grounds of “Lack Of Training” according to the Mayor. It should be noted that Mayor Sikes is the Training Officer for the Maynard Fire Department, in charge of keeping all firemen and officers properly trained. It should also be noted that a source close to the department tells ImbodenLive that this has little to do with what the Mayor claims and more to do with disagreements within the department.
It should also be noted that Volunteer Fire Departments make up over 70% of the Fire Service in the United States and 97% of all Rural Departments are Volunteer.
Mayor Sikes has also been quoted as saying “Wisenbach was asked to resign first before being fired”, Wisenbach say’s is completely fabricated, saying he was called to the Mayor Office and handed a Letter of Termination.
In last Thursday’s Council Meeting at the Fire Department, patrons were refused entry into the Meeting and forced to stand outside the building for over an hour. After the meeting was over it was learned that the Mayor terminated another 4 firemen with nearly 40 years of service. Former Chief Randy Weisenbach tells sources that this is completely against the By-Laws written by the Maynard Fire Department and approved by the Maynard City Counsil.
ImbodenLive has learned that a Mayor can be over-ruled by a 2/3 majority vote by the City Council which plans to meet again on April 14th. Former Fire Chief Randy Weisenbach plans to appeal the Mayor’s decision.
ImbodenLive has requested an interview with Former Fire Chief Randy Weisenbach and are still awaiting a reply. We also would welcome any response from the Mayor’s Office.
Rural communities in North East Arkansas have a common thread of Volunteer Firemen and their Departments. Few people outside the departments understand the relationships required between Fire Chiefs, Mayors and City Officials. It is a checks and balances system that keeps each department focused on their jobs, to protect lives and property in their fire districts.
Imboden has a wonderful relationship between City Officials and Fire Department Officials, hopefully it will last a lifetime. But the recent developments at Maynard helps to remind us just how fragile these things can be. If it was all about fighting fires, it would be easy.
ImbodenLive wishes the residents and firefighters of Maynard lots of luck in getting this resolved and keeping the Maynard Fire Department intact.