“The Town Council for the Town of Zionsville met in a Regular meeting today and unanimously voted to deny the request by Mayor Emily Styron to discharge Mr. James VanGorder from his position of chief/department head of the Zionsville Fire Department pursuant to the Town’s Reorganization, Resolution 2014-11, R2A24.
“The Town’s Reorganization, Resolution 2014-11, ZR2A24 states “The Mayor must have the approval of a majority of the Town Council before the executive may discharge a department head, with the exception of the superintendent of parks and recreation which requires approval of the Zionsville Board of Parks and Recreation under IC 36-10-3.” A chief of the fire department and a chief of the police department is by the nature of those roles a department head for the fire department and police department, respectively. Therefore, the removal of the chief of either department requires a majority vote of the Town Council to grant the Mayor the authority to demote a chief from his/her position. A discharge in this decision does not equate to termination. Any further demotion or change in employment status – including termination – must abide by the state statutory requirements for members of the fire or police departments.
“I appreciate that the mayor acknowledged Resolution 2014-11, ZR2A24 by her request to Council. However, I believe that the accusations levied against the department head lacked the documentation, due process, and evidence of wrongdoing or actions that would justify the discharge, or demotion, of this department head,” said Council Vice President Jason Plunkett.
“We are impressed with the amount of time that all parties have spent on the request by Mayor Styron,” said Council President Josh Garrett. “All Town Councilors have taken this issue extremely seriously and were actively engaged in making this decision today. We have held three executive sessions to discuss this matter, review materials and hear from administration officials. We are appreciative of the many members of the public who weighed in on the matter through calls and emails. Finally, we most want to thank all the members of ZFD who contacted us.”
“A video archive of the meeting is available here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCM_zzpac46aq46O2ZtaeMSg
“The next meeting of the Zionsville Town Council is scheduled for Monday, April 12, 2021 at 7:00 p.m. Please note the shift in dates due to the Spring Break holiday.”