The city of Fayette on Friday quickly repealed an ordinance passed Tuesday night in closed session designating Fayette Fire Department employees independent contractors after the fire department suspended its rescue services.
Under the contractor plan, firefighters would have lost insurance coverage and workers’ compensation coverage while on the job. The members of the municipal fire department, including the fire chief, are selected and hired by the department and the Howard County Fire Protection District. Firefighters make $12 per call and the fire chief receives $200 each month. The original ordinance required firefighters to submit a monthly invoice to the city detailing the number of calls each firefighter responded to.
Fayette Fire Chief Chris Baylor posted a message on Facebook after the original ordinance was passed, saying the department would stop responding to emergency calls at 9 p.m. Thursday.
“As Fire Chief for the City of Fayette, I regret to inform you that as of Tuesday night the Fayette City Council decided to pass an ordinance without contacting the City Fire Chief or the Howard County Fire Protection District Board, to change the status of Fayette Fire Department members to independent contractors,” Baylor wrote. “As such, they have cancelled the workman’s compensation insurance as well as other types of insurance, including liability, formerly provided to the City Firefighters.”
After meeting with unsatisfied firefighters, Fayette Mayor Greg Stidham called an emergency meeting Friday morning to pass an additional ordinance repealing the first.
“We just wanted fire protection for our citizens,” City Administrator Robin Triplet said.