Mayor Sues Council Over Blocked Demotion of Fire Chief

An Indiana mayor has filed suit against her city council challenging their authority to block her demotion of the fire chief. Zionsville Mayor Emily Styron filed suit yesterday after the town council voted unanimously to demote Fire Chief James Vangorder. Such demotions require council approval.

Mayor Styron is asking the court to clarify her authority compared to the council’s. Fox59 quoted the mayor as saying:

“There is a fundamental disagreement between the executive branch and the legislative branch in Zionsville over the authority of the mayor to decide who should lead a Town department.”

CBS4 quoted Council President Josh Garrett as saying:

“I’m disappointed the Mayor is choosing to use taxpayer dollars to file a lawsuit which challenges the voter-approved reorganization.  Our reorganization serves as the framework for our entire government.  I find it confusing she is challenging the very document that allowed Zionsville to have a Mayor.”

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.
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