Wabash Township Board of Directors votes to transfer money to keep firefighters

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Wabash Township administrator Jennifer Teising emailed the three paid firefighters in the fire department, saying their last day with the department would be June 29.

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. – The fate of the Wabash Township Fire Department was at stake Tuesday night when the township council, dozens of residents and the township administrator met with the township fire department.

Recently, Wabash Township administrator Jennifer Teising emailed the three paid firefighters in the fire department, saying their last day with the department would be June 29.

Teising, who appeared at the meeting via Zoom, told residents the township does not have the tax revenue to support full-time firefighters, which she said is nothing new.

Teising said she was in favor of creating a fire district to develop the fire department, but couldn’t get enough public support for one, so she decided to cut the three firefighters. township full-time and use part-time firefighters and volunteers.

It’s a decision she has been criticized for, along with her indictment last month by a grand jury on 20 counts of theft.

RELATED: Wabash Township Trustee Charged with Theft Sacks Paid Firefighters

The charges allege that Teising did not live in the township for more than nine months while raising $ 20,000 as a trustee.

Residents demanded her resignation, which she said she would not give. On Tuesday, they asked city council to intervene regarding Teising’s decision regarding the firefighters.

During the meeting, firefighters responded to an emergency call. Citizens said this was an example of why they still need paid firefighters.

“Can you imagine that this is your relative? Diane Lehman asked.

“What to do to be sure that June 29, 2021 does not mean the end of this fire department? Another inhabitant asked.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the board of directors unanimously voted to transfer $ 500,000 from one equity fund to another fund to pay firefighters in the department until 2023.

“If it’s a stopgap we need to do, then it’s a stopgap we need to do,” said another resident.

Teising said she would review the board’s decision. The locals are asking for more than that.

“I’m begging you. Is this your parent? These are your taxpayers. These are your constituents. Take care of them. Take care of these guys,” Lehman said.

Teising’s trial is tentatively set for July 29.

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