Morse Refuses To Resign As County Fire Chief

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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.

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Members Opinions:
August 21, 2012 at 7:54am
Much of this story apparently remains "unsaid" as concerns continue to be expressed by county commissioners. Perhaps now is the time to discuss the qualities, capabilities, certifications, etc. that one must possess/obtain in order to be considered for such a position as County Fire Chief. Does Cannon County have a listing of such qualifications? Is there a job description for this position? Are these requirements developed by the County Executive? Are they developed by the County Commission? Are they developed solely by the State? Is the appointment made based upon any requirements? Who is the final authority on such an appointment? County Executive or County Commission? Do the various county fire-chiefs have input into such an appointment? Does Faye Morse meet all the requirements at the county level if there are any such requirements? Is she meeting all those requirements as she performs the role of County Fire Chief?
It appears that Cannon County must look forward and set in place policies and procedures that would prevent such controversy in the future. Not closing this gap of controversy would be a major mistake on the part of our county government.
August 21, 2012 at 11:00am
Very well said Bonnie.
August 23, 2012 at 12:01am
Perhaps these exact questions should be answered by our County Commission, in the form of interogatories. Well played Bonnie!
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