Ky. Fire Chief Resigns Amid Allegations of Ambulance Misuse


 
 

Jillian Ogawa | | Monday, March 10, 2008


The Paris, Ky., fire chief resigned during a closed City Commission meeting Monday amid an investigation into whether he improperly used a city ambulance.

Commissioners then reopened the meeting and announced they would withdraw charges of misconduct and inefficiency against Fire Chief Kent Morris, who plans to submit his resignation letter Tuesday.

Morris has been suspended with pay since last Tuesday.

In a description of the charge written by City Manager Bob Casher, Morris was accused of logging an ambulance run nearly a month after it occurred.

On Feb. 3, Morris and his wife, Dawn, took her former husband, Eric Johnson, from his house to Bourbon Community Hospital, Casher's letter said.

Dawn Morris, a firefighter paramedic, was not working when the call was made, according to a letter written by Battalion Chief Jim Leigh.

The run was not logged at the hospital or with the fire department until March 1, after telephone conversations between the Morrises and Assistant City Manager Matt Belcher about the "unlogged" ambulance run.

The misconduct charge arose from the use of the ambulance "for what in essence is personal use" and the failure to document the run until a city officer questioned it, Casher's letter said.

The ambulance run was logged in late because "it was forgotten about," Morris said. The patient was still billed for the ambulance run, he said.

Last year, Morris was accused of using firehouse supplies to remodel his house. State police investigated but said they found no proof of the allegations. State police Lt. Phil Crumpton has said the investigation is complete, although Morris said he had not been notified of that.

"It's too much on my family, it's too much on me, it's not worth all this," Morris, 44, said after the meeting. "I just considered resigning, going on with my life, and be done with it."

Dawn Morris is on medical leave, Mayor Don Kiser said.

Morris said he did not think he had done anything wrong. He fulfilled a patient's request to be taken to the hospital. It occurred on a Sunday, a day he does not normally work, and afterward he went to church, he said. Morris did not identify the patient, citing patient confidentiality rules.

"If that is wrong, so be it," Morris said.

Morris has been fire chief since January 2004.

Kiser said an interim fire chief would be named and the city would advertise for a replacement.

Jillian Ogawa covers Bourbon County for the Herald-Leader. Reach her at (502) 867-1354.


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