Covington Fire Chief Suspended For Weekend Car Accident

Fire Chief Buddy Wheatley
Fire Chief Buddy Wheatley

(COVINGTON, KY) -- The Covington Fire Chief has been disciplined for an automobile accident that occurred over the weekend.

Covington City Manager Jay Fossett says Fire Chief Buddy Wheatley violated city policy by consuming alcoholic beverages prior to operating a city-issued vehicle.

City policy states: "Employees authorized to use a City vehicle are prohibited from using that vehicle at any time when they are consuming alcoholic beverages, or when their driving ability has been impaired through the ingestion of drugs, medication, or alcoholic beverages." Fossett also determined that Chief Wheatley was aware of this policy at the time of the accident.

Fossett has imposed the following disciplinary action against Wheatley:

? A two-week suspension, without pay, from his position as Fire Chief, effective Monday, February 18, 2008.

? Restitution to the City for the 2000 Ford Crown Victoria totaled in the accident. According to the Kelley Blue Book, the "Private Party Value" of this vehicle, which is what a buyer can expect to pay when buying a used car in good condition from a private party, is $3,185.

? Revocation of the merit-based pay raise of 1.25% that the City Manager proposed for Chief Wheatley in 2008 over the base pay raise rate of 1%.

? A written reprimand placed in Chief Wheatley's personnel file regarding the violation of the above-referenced City policy.

? Six months probation.

Wheatley crashed a city-owned vehicle on Feb. 9 in Hebron. He wasn't found until six hours after the crash. When he was found, his blood-alcohol level was 0.05, which is below the legal limit.