Leadership change for Walkerville fire department.

May 20, 2020

Leadership change for Walkerville fire department.

By Allison Scarbrough, Editor.

WALKERVILLE – After nearly 20 years of service as the Walkerville fire chief, Greg Frick has been removed from his position by the Walkerville Area Fire and Rescue Board.

The removal of Greg Frick came just days after the Walkerville Village Council removed his dad, Jerry Frick, from the fire board.

Al Purdy, who was deputy fire chief, was named fire chief.

The drama in Walkerville surrounding the fire department is not a new thing. The battle has raged on for the last several years.

In September of 2017, after months of fighting over budget issues, the Walkerville fire board – in a split vote – eliminated the administrator position, which was held by Jerry Frick.

The fire department is operated by the fire board, which includes three different municipalities — Leavitt and Elbridge townships and the Village of Walkerville. Members of the fire board include two members of each incorporating unit. Colfax Township pulled out of the organization a few years ago and is now under contract for fire protection, said Wayne Tanner, one of the board representatives from Leavitt Township and board chairman.

Jerry Frick, who had been the fire chief for 35 years and had been on the department for over 50 years, has been the target of accusations by officials regarding the budget.

“It’s been one thing after the other,” said Greg Frick, who is still on the fire department as a firefighter.

Tanner said Greg Frick was removed as chief due to the “animosity” among the firefighters. “About a year ago, we discussed things with Mr. Frick,” he said. “We gave him a year to straighten things out.” Unfortunately, issues have continued to persist on the department, Tanner said. “Morale is terrible. They’re acting like junior high school girls. There is too much bickering. This has been an ongoing thing for a while.”

“Greg did a beautiful job for years, but in the last couple years there has been too much animosity.”

Greg said he received no explanation as to why he was removed as fire chief, although he wasn’t surprised by the news. “I had a feeling it was coming,” he said.

Board members unanimously voted May 6 to remove Greg Frick as chief, Tanner said. The other board members are Mike Bond, Craig Herremans, Richard Bronkema and Jim Yancy.

Purdy is also the fire chief for Crystal Township Fire Department. Tanner said many Walkerville firefighters are also on the Crystal Township department.

The Frick family has a long history of serving on the fire department. Greg took over as fire chief for his father in 2000. Prior to Jerry serving as fire chief, his father Lyle was the fire chief, beginning in 1945.

“We’re working through it,” said Greg regarding the obvious disappointment.

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