Row over Shohola Fire Department finances
February 17 - Three months ago, Shohola chairman George Fluhr opened up a Pandora’s box of protests when he fired Don Wall and removed his wife Nelia from her job as secretary/treasurer. Last week, he opened up a hornet’s nest of public protest from citizens with a Board of Supervisors motion to set up a committee to investigate the Shohola fire department’s financial records, something he says state law allows.
All fire departments in the state are private entities with their own budgets and their own boards of trustees.
Fluhr’s suggestion was greeted with greater hoots and howls than the earlier action three months ago.
“This is nothing but a witch hunt; it’s outrageous,” yelled Glyn Eisenhauer, a resident and president of Citizens for Open Government, a group founded recently to oppose Fluhr and supervisor Greg Hoeper.
“We have requested this information three times and have received no reply,” Fluhr said. “We have no other recourse than to set up an investigation.”
Eric Hamill, a resident and attorney who often sides with Fluhr, said, “This is about tax money. Supervisors are justified in investigating this. It’s a two-way street.”
“Are we spending money erratically in just one year?” asked assistant fire chief Matt Weimann. “You were a member of the fire department up to a year ago. You know our finances. We have nothing to hide.”
Another resident yelled that this was a personal fight between Fluhr and the Walls, which Fluhr denied.
“Why can’t the two sides just sit down, talk it out and solve this problem,” a woman said after almost an hour of raucous arguments.
Fluhr and Don Wall finally agreed and a meeting was set for Wednesday, February 16 at 7:30 p.m. for the three supervisors, Fluhr, Hoeper and Nelia Wall, to meet with the fire department’s finance committee. The meeting is to be held at Station One.
The disagreement with the fire department started when Wall asked for a half-mill increase in the millage for the fire company. The request was turned down. Wall then stated that the fire coverage for the township may have to be adjusted down, which was taken as a threat by Fluhr.