The mayor of Wilkes-Barre Township said Monday he still has confidence in the volunteer fire department, even though state police raided the place Friday and even though the fire chief has been charged with theft.
On Friday, state police raided the Wilkes-Barre Township Volunteer Fire Department and left with several boxes. It is not known what authorities are looking for.
Last month fire chief John Yuknavich was arrested for allegedly stealing more than $11,000 from the fire department between 2008 and 2010.
Since those allegations surfaced, Wilkes-Barre Township has made changes to the way it does business with the volunteer fire department.
Mayor Carl Kuren said the township donates $100,000 a year to the fire department. That total includes a monthly payment of $3,500.
“It`s maintenance tires, hoses, that`s whatever they need that $3,500 for that`s what they are supposed to be using it for,” said Kuren.
Every month the volunteer fire department receives a $3,500 donation from Wikes-Barre Township. On January 2 one of the first things the new council did was make it a rule the fire department had to show them records to see what the money is being used for. Prior to that, the fire department never had to show any receipts or records.
“We issued checks out that`s our receipt. We have an accountability for an issue out. Now we want to know what it`s being used for,” added Kuren.
Council is also considering a new code of conduct policy for township employees. John Yuknavich works for the township in the roads department. The new policy would allow council to suspend any employee charged with a misdemeanor or felony.
“It just seems a little shady what`s going on down there. Code of conduct or enforcement would be probably beneficial to everyone,” said Rick Harris of Wilkes-Barre.
Council will vote on the new policy next Monday.
Yuknavich was recently re-elected fire chief for Wilkes-Barre Township by his fellow volunteer firefighters.