MUNFORD, TN - (WMC-TV) – Pay up or face getting fired is the message from one Mid-South chief to his firefighters and now the mayor is standing by his side.
Munford, Tennessee's year-old fire station is one of the nicest this Reporter has ever seen, and city leaders want to keep it that way.
"The issue is individual responsibility: taking care of our equipment, maintaining our equipment," Munford Mayor Dwayne Cole said.
But a recent issue with equipment and furniture damage, for which no one has claimed responsibility, prompted Chief Alan Barkelew to issue what some consider an over-the-top ultimatum to the eight full-time and more than two dozen volunteer firefighters.
Everyone pay 10 bucks, or face possible termination, a position Mayor Dwayne Cole fully supports.
"Chief Barkelew is more than capable of handling his internal issues, absolutely," said Mayor Cole who says he stands behind the decision.
Explosive issues tend to find fuel on Facebook, and the mayor tried to extinguish rumors and misconceptions. But even those not on-line believe the chief may have gone overboard, especially if firefighters actually end up, well, getting fired.
"Nah, that ain't right," said Munford resident Gerald Scalf. "Well, you don't know who did it -- might have been one person and take it out on everybody."
"10 dollars to get it repaired, may be cheaper to do it that way," than to lose a job resident Brenda Mayfield said.
Mayor Cole says the chief's 10-dollar deal was more of a strong statement than actual threat.
"To try and get the message clear: we've got to take care of our equipment," he said.
No one has been fired thus far and the mayor says he is unaware if any money has been collected.