Fire chief Russell Ledbetter submits resignation
TRUSSVILLE — Fire Chief Russell Ledbetter submitted his letter of resignation to the city council Thursday night. His resignation was accepted in a unanimous vote by the council pending approval of the Jefferson County personnel board.
The council had called a special meeting for Thursday night. From that meeting, they went into executive session. Upon returning to the council chamber they announced that the letter of resignation had been offered and then voted to accept the resignation.
Councilman Perry Cook said the council had been offered the letter Thursday afternoon.
Ledbetter and Fire Marshal Steve Reasonover have been placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation of the volunteer fire department after a September 27 Trussville City Council meeting.
The city council had voted previously to refer the matter to the state attorney general’s office for investigation. That investigation will continue. Sources have told the Tribune that a complaint had also been filed with the state ethics commission.
Trussville has a paid, full-time fire department and a volunteer department. Ledbetter and Reasonover both work for the paid department.
On September 27, councilors went into an executive session after regular business was taken care of, and made the announcement upon coming out, prior to officially closing the meeting.
Originally, the council went into executive session alone with city attorney Whit Colvin. Within minutes, Colvin returned to the council chambers to invite councilmen-elect Zach Steele and Jef Freeman to join the executive session. A short time later, Colvin again returned to chambers to invite mayor Gene Melton to join the executive session.
“Information has come to our attention and it has become necessary for us to look further in to this,” Council President Anthony Montalto said.
Councilman Alan Taylor made a motion that an external law firm be hired to conduct the investigation of the Trussville Volunteer Fire Department.
Taylor’s motion also authorized Melton to place Ledbetter and Reasonover on paid administrative leave.
“For the record, no one has been found guilty of anything, this is just an investigation,” Montalto said. “We want to make this clear and hopefully we’ll get good results.”
Assistant Fire Chief Tim Shotts will be in charge during the investigation.
Assistant Fire Chief Tim Shotts has been named acting chief pending the investigation. Photo via Trussvillefire.com
Sources have told The Trussville Tribune that questions have been raised regarding the expenditure of funds provided to the volunteer fire department by the City of Trussville.
Taylor said the council would not make any comment on matters that are being investigated.