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Last updated: Thu. May. 22, 2014 - 04:58 am EDT

Did 'mistakes' contribute to fire chief's resignation?

A $1.7 million truck purchase was pulled last week because of concerns

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Fire Chief Amy Biggs' decision to resign was hers alone, the city's safety director insists. But Rusty York would not comment Wednesday on whether she would have been replaced had she refused to do so, nor would he assess Biggs' performance in her two years on the job.

York said Biggs, who will remain a captain after her tenure as chief ends June 1, expressed personal reasons for her decision he declined to share. “There's always speculation, and people assume different things. Everybody makes mistakes, but I can't tell you she committed any mortal sins,” said York, who became the city's first safety director since 1999 when he was promoted from police chief last November. “(Resigning) was a big decision for her, but it was her decision.”

York would not elaborate on those mistakes, but there have been public hints of missteps.

In February, Controller Pat Roller successfully asked City Council for an additional $800,000 for the Fire Department to compensate for a budgetary miscalculation. And just last week, a request to spend more than $1.7 million on three fire trucks was pulled from council's agenda at the last minute after a city fleet official raised concerns.

“We drove the ladder truck, and it was a good price,” York said. "But the other two (pump trucks) were made-to-order.” A review indicated the two trucks lacked certain requirements, including sufficient engine power.

Biggs, who joined the department in 1995 and was the city's first female fire chief, has not publicly commented on the reasons for her resignation. But in a statement issued Wednesday she said she was “proud to have represented the men and women of the Fort Wayne Fire Department (and) the citizens of Fort Wayne.”

kleininger@news-sentinel.com


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