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Ambulance District fires top executive

DE SOTO - The Valle Ambulance District has fired its top administrator, a former paramedic who earlier this year raised the ire of the Mehlville Fire Protection District board by participating in a training class while on disability with Mehlville.

The Valle board voted to fire Gary Cronin in a board meeting Aug. 23. No reason for the firing was disclosed, and neither Cronin nor the board's chairman could be reached for comment Thursday.

The board appointed Joe Williams, a Valle emergency medical technician for more than 20 years, as interim administrator.

Cronin, 57, began working for the Valle district, in Jefferson County, in 2005. There, he told the Post-Dispatch in March, he made $51,000 a year in addition to health insurance and pension benefits.

The chairman of the Mehlville board criticized Cronin in March after a photo of Cronin participating in a training class appeared in the newspaper the Jefferson County Leader. Cronin told the Post-Dispatch he did not engage in anything physically strenuous during the training. But a document signed by a training evaluator and filed with the Missouri Division of Fire Safety contradicted him.

Mehlville board Chairman Aaron Hilmer was irate over the photo because Cronin, at that point, had received $424,616 from Mehlville for a disability he allegedly suffered while working as a paramedic. Cronin had worked for the district for 12 years.

Copyright 2007 St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Inc.

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