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Authority dispute in Zionsville between mayor, fire chief and town council

Posted at 11:20 AM, Mar 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-19 11:20:21-04

ZIONSVILLE — A dispute over who has authority to fire town employees is a developing issue in Zionsville.

In a lawsuit, Zionsville Mayor Emily Styron is asking a judge to clarify whether she can demote Zionsville's Fire Chief or if that decision can only be made by the town council.

In a statement, Mayor Styron said:

"There is a fundamental disagreement between the executive branch and the legislative branch in Zionsville over the authority of the mayor to decide who should lead a Town department."

Earlier this week, the Zionsville Town Council decided unanimously not to demote the fire chief. Mayor Styron then put the chief on administrative leave for a week and informed him he would be given new job responsibilities beginning next week.

The town council president, Joshua Garrett, says the council has the ultimate authority to do that and he was caught off guard by this request.

"The first half of the year of her first term, things seemed quite well. The chief got a glowing review from the mayor that I've seen," Garett said. "Then, something happened. I don't know what happened. I wasn't there. It went from a very positive relationship to suddenly wanting to make a change there."

The council voted to kep the chief on after reviewing the mayor's complaint and talking to firefighters.

WRTV asked the mayor for an interview to learn her reasons for moving to demote the fire chief and this disagreement with the town council. The newsroom will keep you updated as we find out more.