Southeast Bullitt Fire Protection Board holds first meeting with - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Southeast Bullitt Fire Protection Board holds first meeting without embattled fire chief

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Southeast Fire Protection District board meets Monday night for the first time without Hatfield. Southeast Fire Protection District board meets Monday night for the first time without Hatfield.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Amid allegations of financial malfeasance and racist comments against Southeast Bullitt Fire Chief Julius Hatfield, the fire protection board is carefully watching its every step.

During Monday's meeting, one member suggested the relationship between the fire protection district and the fire corporation board may be illegal.

The Southeast Bullitt Fire Protection District Board collects the tax money and gives it to the Fire Corporation Board for service.

Board member Dan Thibodeaux suggested that, according to state statute, the board is entered into an illegal contract with the Fire Corporation Board.

"We have an illegal contract we need to consider and start working on," said Thibodeaux. "Those fire corporations are part of the district, they're not a separate non-profit organization, and everything they do belongs to the district, it does not belong to a private corporation."

Meanwhile, a few members of the public decided to speak, including the president of the Bullitt County Chamber of Commerce.

Claiming support from numerous county leaders, including Judge Executive Melanie Roberts, Dan Cline asked the board to force Julius Hatfield out of his position as fire chief.

"The citizens of this district and this county deserve better than the representation that Julius Hatfield and this board in particular has presented," he said.

Cline says although there is concern about the financial allegations, he recognizes that there are currently no charges against Hatfield. Instead, he wants him removed due to racist comments.

"The right thing for this guy to do is to resign, not because of the malfeasance and what he's done with this board and the private board, but because of the hatred, the hate speech that he put out there that's gone across the country," said Cline.

Although the board told Cline they aren't authorized to remove Hatfield from his position as fire chief, board member Buddy Greenwell responded to the request.

"There's no more room for those kind of remarks, but as chief he has done a world of a job for his community and people just don't see that," said Buddy Greenwell

Greenwell says Hatfield doesn't deserve to be "beat when he's down."

"Take his home but don't take his clothes, you know what I'm saying? This is his life. This fire department is his life," he said.

The Bullitt County Sheriff continues its investigation into Julius Hatfield and the Southeast Bullitt Fire Department.

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