David Berry

Siri Hedreen / The Outlook

Former fire chief David Berry (left) was fired by the Camp Hill council March 15. 

Former fire chief David Berry will be appealing his termination at the next Camp Hill council meeting Monday, Mayor Messiah Williams-Cole told town residents in a Facebook livestream.

Berry was fired by the Camp Hill Town Council last month, at the recommendation of the mayor, due to Berry's failure to present certain documents. All but one council member voted in favor of his termination.

On Wednesday, Williams-Cole updated constituents on the fire chief situation in the latest installment of his "Camp Hill Conversations" series, Williams-Cole's monthly news bulletin broadcasted via Facebook.

"We recently fired our fire chief and (there have) been a lot of things said about why he was fired and what's going on," he said. "He has his appeal at the next council meeting."

The conflict dates back to February, when the town sent Berry a letter requesting documentation of vehicle titles, inventory, bank statements, audits, donations and a responded call log for the past three years, as well as the articles of incorporation for the fire department. While assets are owned by the volunteer fire department, the town insures the vehicles, equipment and building.

On Feb. 15, the mayor suspended Berry's pay due to his failure to present the documents with the promise to reinstate it as soon as they were received. On March 15 Berry still did not present the documents, saying it was the fire department's job, not his.

Williams-Cole displayed a copy of the Feb. 2 letter with list of the aforementioned requests on his screen Wednesday, stating he wanted to be as transparent as possible.

"This is the so-called 'tacky letter' that I sent out asking for information," he said, referring to Berry's description of it at the March 15 meeting.

Williams-Cole particularly emphasized the request for proof of donations.

"The fire department gets donations from different people — I know because different people have told me they have given donations to the fire department," he said. "The thing about donations or any money whatsoever is that when you (get) that money, then you have to account for it. You will never see a situation where Messiah or anybody else receives money and you don't receive a receipt, you don't receive a written notice, it's not documented, it's not earmarked, it's not accounted for."

Williams-Cole also said he asked for a log of calls the fire department had responded to in the last three years for the benefit of the fire service.   

"This is just done to see how have you been working, is there any way that we need to compensate you guys more, what can we do to improve," he said.

The mayor said he didn't want anyone left in the dark on his recommendation to fire the fire chief.

"This thing is not about anything other than accountability and making sure that every tax dollar, every donation dollar is accounted for and spent in the right place," he said.

At the March 15 meeting, Berry's defense was the fire department is a nonprofit organization independent of the town and himself as fire chief.

"You have to talk to them," Berry told the mayor and council. "When you sent this little tacky letter, it shouldn't have come to me, it should've went to the president of the volunteers."

Berry's appeal will take place during the council meeting on Monday, April 5 at 6 p.m.