McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

October 9, 2013

Former Kingfisher fire chief fired by city manager appeals to board of commissioners

By Dale Denwalt, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

KINGFISHER, Okla. — Kingfisher’s former fire chief is asking for a hearing in front of the city’s commissioners, alleging his termination was “an orchestrated farce.”

At the earliest, Randy Poindexter’s appeal could be heard by the Kingfisher Board of Commissioners at its meeting in November or earlier in a special meeting, but City Manager Dave Slezickey said the appeal filed by Poindexter’s attorney still is being reviewed by counsel.

Termination appeal

The appeal states Slezickey made unrealistic demands of the chief, calling the city manager an “armchair quarterback” trying to run the fire department from city hall.

“Chief Poindexter also wishes to inform the Board of Commissioners and the citizens of Kingfisher of the shoddy and poorly articulated demands that Mr. Slezickey has placed on Kingfisher’s fire department.”

According to the appeal, which reports various complaints from Slezickey, the city manager said Poindexter had several deficiencies in performance. The city manager reportedly said the deficiencies were “substantial” and include the following:

• That Poindexter went on a trip to Washington, D.C., to lobby for grants without first obtaining permission. Poindexter said if Slezickey objected to the trip, he would have taken vacation time instead. Poindexter says he personally paid for travel, meals and lodging.

• That in 2011, Poindexter spent $25 worth of city funds on a used defibrillator. According to the appeal, Poindexter said he received commission approval for a contract to maintain the defibrillator, but didn’t present that proof to Slezickey when asked for it.

• That Poindexter failed to adequately staff the fire department, requiring him to be paid for several instances where he personally covered the station for his firefighters, or assisted in responding to calls. Poindexter said he is unable to contact the city manager each time an emergency arises.

Citing privacy regulations, Slezickey declined to comment on personnel matters when reached Wednesday.

Poindexter’s attorney, Matt Smith, said Kingfisher Board of Commissioners has been left out of the process. That includes a policy directive issued by Slezickey that, Smith said, orders the chief to act out of accordance with city rules.

“None of the commissioners, as far as we know, have weighed in on this decision, especially since it was made based on violations of rules that the city manager implemented himself,” Smith said. “There was a conflict in the best way to run the fire department. Mr. Slezickey wanted to approve everything, and I think that is something the citizens of Kingfisher would certainly be interested in.”