Trussville Mayor: Investigation continues into Fire Department
In a news conference Wednesday morning, Trussville Mayor Buddy Choat announced that the investigation into the city's fire department is ongoing, but it will no longer be led by the Alabama Ethics Commission.
Eleven months after allegations of misusing funds, the Ethics Commission informed the city of Trussville it is no longer investigating and will not issue a resolution.
Choat says he's disappointed that there is no resolution after an 11 month investigation, but that the city still has options to pursue. He did not specify who will now lead the investigation, but said the city will work to protect citizens from improprieties.
For many years, the city contracted out its volunteer fire department and paid it $75,000 annually, which council had no oversight of. Former Mayor Eugene Melton told ABC 33/40 last September that there was no oversight of the money because it became private once given to the volunteer fire department.
Choat said the allegations for this investigation involve the money paid to the volunteer fire department and the management of that money.
Choat explained the city has made changes since allegations became public. The volunteer fire department is now controlled by the city, not contracted out. He added that it no longer receives that $75,000 annually.
In September 2016, Fire Chief Russell Ledbetter and Fire Marshall Reasonover were placed on administrative leave. Both men were involved in the volunteer fire department, also.
In February 2017, Ledbetter retired.
Reasonover is still employed by Trussville Fire Department, but is no longer Marshall. He is now a firefighter.
You can see the complete news conference in the player below: