advertisement

Timeline for 'A chief under fire'

Sunday, January 14, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 4:46 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

2001

September

Missouri Task Force 1 deploys to World Trade Center.

December

The governing board votes to give then secretary Sharon Curry a promotion to assistant chief and give her a pay raise to $65,000. By 2006, Curry’s salary will top $93,000.

2002

September

Rob Brown, the former chief of the Castle Rock, Colo., Fire and Rescue Department, is named as the new chief-of-staff in charge of “day-to-day issues within the county.” Fire Chief Steve Paulsell will handle “worldwide” issues and funding.

2003

February

Bruce Piringer, the former director of MU’s Fire and Rescue Training Institute, is hired to lead the fire district’s training and education bureau.

2004

May

John M. Gordon Sr. is sworn in as the newest member of the fire district’s three-person governing board.

2005

July

Several former and current employees and volunteers – led by Brown and Piringer – publicly air their complaints against the fire district’s top brass alleging, among other things, sexual discrimination and a hostile work environment.

Glenda Castrop, the wife of a former volunteer firefighter, organizes a recall petition aimed at ousting the fire district’s elected board.

August

The fire district’s governing board agrees to hire a consultant to examine the department’s administrative problems.

Brown and Piringer are fired. Two volunteer battalion chiefs, Todd Burke and Jerry Jenkins, are relieved of their duties.

Missouri Task Force 1, deploys to Hurricane Katrina.

September

Circuit Judge Ellen Roper rules against Piringer in his wrongful termination lawsuit that he filed in circuit court to get his job back.

December

Paulsell is given power to increase salaries based on merit and performance evaluations.

2006

January

Board district chairman Willis Smith commits suicide outside his rural county home. His son Michael and Paulsell point to a recall petition as a possible motive for Smith’s suicide.

February

Myrtle Rapp is named chairwoman of the fire district’s governing board, having earlier chosen not to seek re-election. She leaves the board in the spring.

March/April

Columbia businessman David Griggs, who is also a former county commissioner, is appointed to fill Smith’s vacant seat on the fire district board.

Shelly Dometrorch, a former lieutenant with the Boone County Sheriff’s Department, edges out Ashland businessman Don Farris in a public election for the third spot on the fire district’s board.

The FBI begins looking into whether the fire district misappropriated taxpayer funds by spending $200,000 on a bronze statue that stands in front of the agency’s headquarters on Interstate 70 Drive Northwest near Stadium Boulevard.

July

Andrea Meinhart, the fire district’s financial director, resigns after being put on paid leave following an audit that showed “bookkeeping mistakes.” Columbia police are contacted to investigate missing petty cash from several accounts.

Six former employees and volunteers begin filing sexual harassment and wrongful termination complaints with the fire district.

August

The fire district’s governing board promises a thorough examination of paid salaries, which critics have called too high, and outdated department policies related to the supervision of employees.

The fire district lowers its tax rate 14 percent.

September

A 19-year-old woman who says she was sexually assaulted in a Boone County Fire station on Highway 63 South files a lawsuit against a volunteer firefighter, Jeremy Brady, and the fire district in circuit court.

The fire district’s board hires a consultant to update its personnel guidelines.

Federally brokered talks between the fire district and the group of former employees and volunteers reaches an “impasse.”

October

An independent audit shows that thousands of dollars in petty cash has been misappropriated and that more than $500,000 in federal money was used for the wrong purpose. Meinhart is blamed.

November

Bruce Piringer, the fire district’s former assistant chief in charge of training, files a lawsuit in federal court claiming he was subject to sexual harassment and fired because he spoke out against Paulsell and Curry.


Like what you see here? Become a member.


Show Me the Errors (What's this?)

Report corrections or additions here. Leave comments below here.

You must be logged in to participate in the Show Me the Errors contest.


Comments

Leave a comment

Speak up and join the conversation! Make sure to follow the guidelines outlined below and register with our site. You must be logged in to comment. (Our full comment policy is here.)

  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Don't use language that makes personal attacks on fellow commenters or discriminates based on race, religion, gender or ethnicity.
  • Use your real first and last name when registering on the website. It will be published with every comment. (Read why we ask for that here.)
  • Don’t solicit or promote businesses.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report comment" link.

You must be logged in to comment.

Forget your password?

Don't have an account? Register here.

advertisements