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Loomis Residents Embroiled In Battle Over Fire Chief Serving As City Councilman

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LOOMIS (CBS13) – Small-town politics are threatening to rip apart Loomis in a matter that may require the state attorney general to step in.

Mayor Walt Scherer recently quit after attempting to get rid of a planning commission member who filed a complaint about a fire chief splitting time as a city councilman.

That commissioner, Janet Thew, said that Fire Chief Dave Wheeler, “was probably violating state law,” with his potential conflict of interest. She was part of a complaint with the state attorney general.

She’s not alone. Resident Bill Branch also wants the chief to choose between his duties.

“Mr. Wheeler, we’ve said all along would probably make a very good council member, probably make a very good fire chief. But not at the same time. That’s illegal,” he said.

But the fire chief doesn’t believe there’s a conflict of interest and says he doesn’t have to choose.

“I think what people fail to realize is that the Loomis Fire Protection District is a separate and distinct government agency from the town of Loomis. Has no connection whatsoever,” Wheeler said.

The California attorney general will have to rule whether there is a conflict. Once a decision is made, the group looking to boot the fire chief from the council can then file a lawsuit. They say they hope it doesn’t come to that.

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