Questions about the future remain following heated SE Bullitt Fi - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Questions about the future remain following heated SE Bullitt Fire Protection District Board meeting

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) - There are still questions about fire service in Southeast Bullitt County following a heated board meeting Friday night.

"I am within my rights to withdraw the resignation and resume my position as chairman," embattled Fire Chief Julius Hatfield said at the meeting. 

He was booed by the crowd during his statement. A lot of people didn't think Hatfield would be there since he resigned from the fire protection district board in early December. The meeting did go on with him sitting among other board members. 

"Vote it down," Hatfield could be heard saying to another board member. 

He voted against motions on the agenda and it appears he asked other members to do so as well. 

"We should get some new members on the board and vote all this sh** back out," Hatfield said to another board member. WDRB's microphone was sitting in front of Hatfield throughout the public meeting. 

All of the motions did pass, but there was concern from the community and firefighters about the process. 

"It's going to be clear who were working for," one firefighter asked. Another said, "Are we gonna keep our jobs?"

"They don't have a problem, There's not a single issue with the firefighters," Maurice Byrne, who represents the board of trustees, said about the board members. 

He says a contract with the Southeast Bullitt Fire Department, which is a corporation, had to be determined null and void. The board did immediately enter a 60-day contract with the department to keep firefighters on the streets while a new, long-term contract is worked out. 

"In 60 days if not before, you will see the results," Byrne said. 

The new contract would include a code of ethics, transparency, an investment policy and would better protect firefighters' rights, Byrne said. 

He says the board will then advertise for bid on who can provide the best protection and outside departments will be able to place a bid. 

"If the corporation gets its act in shape legally and respects its firefighters, with rights the board is demanding, I think the future is bright," Byrne said. 

As for Hatfield's future on the board. His attorney says withdrawing his resignation is legal because neither the fiscal court nor the county judge executive accepted his resignation on the record. 

Hatfield is the subject of an investigation into alleged financial mismanagement. 

"I would be very surprised if the County Judge Executive, if that's not documented," Byrne said about the Hatfield's resignation. "If it wasn't, if that was missed, I think Tuesday they will take action and we will get rid of that red herring." 

The fiscal court is scheduled to meet Tuesday. County Judge Executive Melanie Roberts didn't return WDRB's calls for comment on Saturday. 

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