KIDDER TOWNSHIP-- Fire Chief John Devine says he will not resign or take a leave of absence after his wife, Amanda, was charged with stealing more than $30,000 from the Kidder Township Volunteer Fire Company's relief fund.
Devine survived two motions for him to step down during a contentious and emotional meeting on Saturday.
Fire Company President Rob Hill tells Newswatch 16 he is stepping down. At one point during the meeting, members passed a motion to begin dismissal proceedings against him.
Hill tells Newswatch 16 he was the one who discovered Amanda Devine was taking money.
Devine insists he had no knowledge of the alleged theft, and that he and his wife do not share any bank accounts.
The strife at the department came to a climax as it is struggling to survive.
On Thursday, township supervisors are expected to vote on whether to terminate its relationship with the department and send its calls to Lake Harmony and Albrightsville.
Members at the meeting expressed concern that would mean delayed response to fires and accidents in the western part of the township, but also discussed whether the fire house could be used as a sub-station by Albrightsville.
Hill says, in January, the Kidder Township supervisors gave the company six months to straighten out its finances.
The company had faced scandal before. The previous chief was dismissed after he was accused of taking money. Firefighters say he was not criminally charged but did make restitution.
Much of the discussion at the meeting revolved around whether the township would be more likely to continue working with the Kidder Township Volunteer Fire Company if Chief Devine was no longer in the picture.
He says, "I am not resigning. If the township wants my resignation, that is a whole different story." Devine adds that his kids grew up in the fire house and there are more factors to consider than "what is going on with Amanda."
Both Hill and Devine say the relationship with the township has been tense for a long time. Devine says, "This has been an ongoing issue. We have been doing everything humanly possible to give what the township wants, and unfortunately, we get hit with blocks."
Members did vote to hire a new accountant, appoint a committee of residents to serve as advisers, and ask the court for a custodian.