Vernon's fire chief has resigned, and the city's mayor has accused administrators of encouraging secrecy within the ranks of the fire department.
Meanwhile, Vernon's city manager told the Times Record News he has given the mayor and commissioners as much information about the former chief's resignation as privacy laws allow. He also said no secret plans have been hatched to withhold information from elected officials.
Marcus Smith resigned as fire chief late last week, city officials said, though the circumstances which led him to leave still are unclear. In an interview, City Manager Joseph Jarosek alluded to an investigation conducted by the city but said protocol does not allow him to speak on the details of personnel matters.
Currently the fire department is being led by an interim chief until a search for other candidates can be conducted.
Mayor Joe Rogers said his efforts to talk to firemen about Smith's resignation have been stymied by what he calls a "gag order" placed on the personnel.
"I've talked to a few fireman and they've been scared to speak with me about the issue. They're scared for their job," he said. "There's been a gag order placed on them by city administration."