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  • Last modified 90 days ago (March 25, 2021)

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Williams resigns; Regnier back as chief

Staff writer

Marion city councilmen appointed former fire chief Mike Regnier Monday to serve as interim fire chief following Friday’s resignation of Preston Williams.

Despite firefighters’ support of Williams during weeks of conflict with city officials, he resigned Friday.

“After thinking about everything and deciding what is best for me and my family, I resigned,” Williams said. “We decided to leave the future open. I’ll stay on the department but just in a different position.”

Williams had been told to submit his resignation a month ago, but did not.

Williams posted his decision on his social media page Friday morning.

“It’s with a heavy heart that I tell everyone that I have stepped down from the fire chief position. It’s what’s best for me and my family. I am still on the department and looking forward to continuing to serve my community. Thanks to everyone for the support you have shown me over my tenure,” he wrote.

Williams was called into an executive session during a city council meeting a month ago and told to resign.

He told council members he had no intention of doing so.

At the next meeting, two weeks later, mayor David Mayfield asked the council to vote that Williams be removed not only from his position as fire chief, but from the fire department.

A confrontation ensued. Councilman Ruth Herbel said Williams should be given an opportunity to be heard.

After Williams spoke and gave council members a letter of support signed by 11 of the city’s 20 volunteer firefighters, Mayfield’s motion failed on a tied vote with Herbel and councilman Jerry Kline against, Mayfield and councilman Chris Costello in favor, and councilman Susan Gray abstaining.

Williams’ supporters applauded. Mayfield glared at Herbel and expressed exasperation with Gray.

Last modified March 25, 2021

 

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