Former Kaplan fire chief faces potential reinstatement after being fired, but says he plans to resign

Vermilion Parish

KAPLAN, La. (KLFY) The Kaplan city council approved a motion Wednesday to reinstate the city’s fire chief.

This comes two months after the fire chief was suspended and fired for alleged misconduct.

Former Kaplan Fire Chief Jacob Mathiew says his reinstatement, however, won’t last long.

Mathiew says he’s happy about his potential reinstatement. He’ll receive back pay from the months he was suspended and terminated, but he says as soon as he is reinstated Thursday, he quits.

“Everything is going to be rescinded, the termination and the suspension, and I’m going to be reinstated. But then I’m going to immediately resign,” Mathiew told News Ten.

Mathiew was fired in May for alleged misconduct in office.

The former fire chief denies these allegations. He says he was never certain why he was terminated, and 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.

Mathiew says he was unjustly fired by the mayor and the city council, and his attorneys worked out a solution with Kaplan’s attorney to reinstate him as fire chief for a brief period so he can receive compensation for the three months he was suspended and terminated.

Mathiew says he will resign after he is reinstated and receives his payments.

“The thing about firefighting is, it’s all about trust. Well it’s mostly about trust. God has a lot to do with it, but it’s mostly trust. If you can’t trust the people above you to back you up, then you don’t belong there,” he said.

News Ten did ask Kaplan Mayor Mike Kloesel for comment, though he denied our requests for an interview or statement.

Wednesday the city council approved the motion for Mathiew’s reinstatement.

On Thursday, the motion will go before the civil service board, but the city attorney says he’s confident the board will approve it.

Mathiew says he will now be working as a volunteer firefighter at a fire department in Duson.

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