Morse Refuses To Resign As County Fire Chief

KEVIN HALPERN, Courier Co-Editor

An emergency meeting of the Cannon County Commission Monday night ended with the county having the same fire chief it had when the meeting began.

The purpose of the meeting was to appoint/affirm a county fire chief as recommended by County Executive Mike Gannon.

However, Gannon did not make any recommendation, stating that the county already had a fire chief in place (Faye Morse).

Commission Chairman Bob Stoetzel countered that the county did not have a fire chief, as he had researched the minutes of commission meetings for the past 20 years and could find no record of one being appointed by a previous county executive or approved by a previous county commission.

This past Friday, the State Fire Marshal's Office confirmed in documentation sent to the county executive's office that Morse was recognized by the state as the county's fire chief.

The state also sent the county a certificate affirming that the Cannon County Volunteer Fire Department "having successfully met all of the requirements, is hereby declared a DULY RECOGNIZED FIRE DEPARTMENT."

The recognition is valid through August 31, 2015.

While no record of Morse being appointed county fire chief has been found, the state says she meets the requirements to be the Assistant To The Commissioner under state law.

In 1998, former County Executive Dale Bush received a letter from previous state Assistant Commissioner Stuart Crine stating that Morse had been appointed as an Assistant to the Commissioner.

During Monday's meeting Chairman Stoetzel asked Morse is she would consider resigning, thereby creating a vacancy. Morse said she would not.

Commissioner Russell Reed suggested obtaining an opinion from the State Attorney General to determine if Morse was, in fact, the county's fire chief. While no vote was taken to do so, Chairman Stoetzel said he would pursue that course of action, and the meeting was adjourned.