A month after voting to censure a board member, the Sunrise Beach Fire Protection District Board of Directors has now moved to remove that member from his elected office.

A month after voting to censure a board member, the Sunrise Beach Fire Protection District Board of Directors has now moved to remove that member from his elected office.

During a regular open board meeting Monday evening, two members of the three-member board voted to file a civil action, a petition in quo warranto, against Robert Hemen to remove him from the board. In July, SBFPD President Brian Layman and Secretary Denise Dill censured Treasurer Hemen for allegedly disrupting daily operations by attempting to engage in management activities in violation of a set board directive, trying to have a change made to a personnel record of a past volunteer and subsequent retaliation and harassment of Fire Chief Dennis Reilly when it was denied. The censure also stated that Hemen had subjected the district to the threat of litigation.

Hemen was elected in April 2018, returning him to the board after an off-stint following an election loss to Layman. He had previously served a prior term, acting as secretary when the makeup of the board members was different.

A former board member, Garrett Blackwell, attended the August 20 meeting, speaking during a public comment period against Hemen. A Lake area realtor and businessman, Jim Rogers, also questioned Hemen’s actions.

After missing last month’s meeting in which he was censured, Hemen was notified of the action via certified mail. In an indirect response, Hemen provided a letter in person to Layman just before the meeting, which Layman read into the record. The letter mainly requested eight items, mainly financial records, which Hemen is seeking as board treasurer.

Layman and Dill voted to provide the information requested from one item, but denied the rest.

Dill stated the other requests were for personal individual information of the district’s firefighters and not the treasurer’s business.

Items sought included things like individual employee insurance statements from Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield; individual employee paycheck stubs with deductions; a list of employee garnishments; cost to print the district newsletter; payments into the retirement accounts of Chief Reilly and other employees and other items.

The Lake Sun has requested a copy of the letter to better detail what was sought and denied, as well as a copy of the court filing. Other issues are also being.

Hemen was provided information on what a surplused apparatus was sold for through a bidding process. SBFPD employee Jack Haggard, a firefighter in the audience, said Dave Haggard purchased it for $2,605. The board had set a minimum to sell at $2,500.

In addition to sending Hemen the censure action via certified mail, SBFPD attorney Tom Loraine notified Hemen of the possible court action to remove him from office prior to the August 20 meeting, asking Hemen to resign instead. Hemen did not do so before or during the meeting.

After the meeting adjourned, Hemen called the board “out of control” but declined to make any other statement on the record.

On Tuesday morning, Chief Reilly commented, “I think the most important thing to communicate to the public is that we are comprised of a bunch of dedicated professionals who are prepared to execute our mission regardless of what is going on around us. That said, it’s a fair statement that there is some stress associated with this situation. It’s not a pleasant situation for anybody to be in, Mr. Hemen included. We are charged with a critical life safety service. What I try to do as a leader is bring the conversation back to that. We have an obligation to respond to ‘Mrs. Smith’s’ emergency and we can’t lose sight of that.”

Reilly said he will be visiting with all personnel, providing them with as much information as he can. While some things are privileged, he said he wanted all their members to know as much as possible.

“That eases the apprehension and stress to some extent and allows them to refocus on the critical issue, our mission.”