The Chouteau Board of Trustees called an emergency meeting Wednesday, June 12, to discuss two fire department issues.
First was Chouteau Fire Chief Ted Key's leave status. The board discussed whether payroll payments could be made until the type of leave was determined.
“We don't have anything from a doctor saying he can't work, so we can't use medical or sick leave,” said Mayor Jerry Floyd. “My suggestion is for him to use his vacation time.”
Key turned the board's attention to the state-provided form from the hospital at the time of his admittance.
He asked the board if they had not talked with the designated local worker’s compensation representative.
“I talked to her Monday,” said Cherry Dry, city secretary.
“And? What did she say?” said Key.
“That at this time she didn't know,” said Dry.
Dry said she normally sends a doctor's statement with the information to the worker's compensation representative, but she did not have the statement at the time she was sending it, so it was not included.
Board member Brenda Cunningham said there could be no dispute that Key has a medical leave, as he was admitted to the hospital.
“This is the first we've got on this so we could pay him sick leave I suppose,” said Floyd.
“The doctors require me to be at 90 percent before they will clear me to return to work because of the nature of my job. I have not been cleared as of yet. They do not think the damage is gone and they think there is possible nerve and tissue damage,” said Key. “I mean I feel okay, I'd rather be back to work to tell you the truth.”
“So you're wanting to do sick leave until worker's compensation kicks in,” said board member Cecil Lane, to which Key said he believes that is the board’s only alternative.
“My sick leave is re-instated if worker's compensation is approved. It's a week's pay, I'm not too worried about it,” said Key. “It seemed pretty cut and dry to me. I didn't think it needed a special meeting.”
Following a motion and a second, the board voted to approve Key using sick leave until a determination is made regarding his worker's compensation claim.
The other agenda item dealt with accepting two volunteer firefighters discussed at the regularly scheduled board meeting earlier in the week. At the previous meeting, the board discussed the possibility that nepotism laws would prohibit Key from accepting two returning volunteers because he is related to them. The board voted to table the issue to allow city attorney Ben Sherrer to review the law and its applicability.
Sherrer, who was not present, provided a written statement to the board essentially stating that his findings did not suggest accepting the volunteers would be a violation.
With that clarification, the board voted to approve accepting Eddie Krager and Shari Krager as volunteer firefighters for the Chouteau Fire Department.