Former board chairman defends chief in fire department scandal
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The former chairman of the Camp Taylor Fire District claims the firefighters who filed a sexual harassment lawsuit never approached the board of trustees.
In a civil complaint, firefighters George Givens and Michael Killebrew accused former Deputy Chief Steve Adkins of sexual harassment, a hostile work environment, retaliation and inflecting emotional distress.
"They should've taken it to the board and brought it to the chairman which never happened," said Gary Fields, the former Camp Taylor Board chairman.
"The board would've been the checks and balances to look into any allegations," said Fields. "It should've and would've been done, but it was not addressed because the board wasn't aware until a lawsuit was filed."
Since the complaint was filed July 29, Camp Taylor's chief, deputy chief and board chairman are no longer affiliated with the fire district. The board of trustees accepted former chief Harold Adkins' resignation during a meeting September 13, according to a document filed by the board of trustees. However, Fields told WAVE 3 News the chief left under different circumstances.
"He quit. It's sad he had to go out on this note," said Fields. "[Adkins] started his career at Camp Taylor in the early 1960's as a volunteer and he left as a volunteer. He has no retirement. He has no pay. There's no benefit for him to say he 'retired.'"
Harold Adkins' son, Steve Adkins, retired from his position as deputy chief on August 30. Fields was not re-elected when his term expired as a property owner board member.
According to state law, the board of trustees is the primary oversight of suburban fire districts. The boards are comprised of three members appointed by the mayor, two elected property owners and two firefighter representatives. Suburban fire districts, like Camp Taylor, are required to complete an annual audit and submit it to the KY State Auditor's Office.