KAPLAN, La. (KLFY) — Kaplan has a new fire chief and assistant fire chief, according to the mayor, pending the final approval of the town council.
Jake Faulk will take the reins as the town’s top firefighter, while Interim Fire Chief Robby Pommier will step into the assistant role, according to Mayor Mike Kloesel. The mayor said both men are very capable leaders and firefighters.
“Both men have the approval and respect of the entire fire department, the volunteer fire department, and the Kaplan Fire Department board of directors,” said the mayor.
Faulk’s and Pommier’s appointments come after the former chief, Jacob Mathiew, was fired by the city and reinstated long enough to be allowed to resign. Mathiew was fired in May for alleged misconduct in office.
The former fire chief denied the allegations, saying he was never certain why he was terminated and that the mayor never gave him a definitive explanation of what he did wrong.
“The mayor is a big bully is all, and he wants to control everything. He wants to micromanage everything, and you know, I understand he’s the mayor. But he’s only been the mayor for three years, and I’ve been fighting fires for 28+ years. I mean, I know my job,” he said.
It was originally reported that Mathiew was reinstated and then quit. However, Kloesel said what actually happened was that the town reinstated Mathiew and allowed him to resign instead of letting his termination stand.
“There is no doubt in my mind that this is a battle that the city would have won had we been forced to continue the termination process through civil service and/or the courts,” said Kloesel in a letter to News 10. “We felt this settlement to be in the best interest of the city of Kaplan and for the ex-chief as well. It is unfortunate the ex-chief attempted to twist the facts of this settlement into a victory. This was not a victory for Jacob Mathiew. This was not a victory for anyone involved.”