A captain with Leavenworth County Fire District No. 1 will serve as the department’s interim chief.
Joe Gates has been selected to serve as the interim chief until a new chief can be hired, according to Rob Gaslin, chairman of the Leavenworth County Fire District No. 1 Board of Trustees.
Fire District No. 1 provides services to the city of Lansing and Delaware and High Prairie townships.
Fire District No. 1’s chief, Todd Farley, has submitted his resignation, which will be effective Wednesday.
Farley reportedly has taken another position.
A website for Fire District No. 1 lists Gates as one of four captains with the department. The department does not have an assistant chief.
According to Gaslin, members of the Board of Trustees are beginning to work through the process of searching for a new chief.
Board members are scheduled to meet Monday. Among the agenda items is the approval of a job description for the chief’s position.
Board members also are scheduled to have a farewell for Farley.
Farley has been the chief since 2018.
During that time, the city of Lansing and Delaware and High Prairie townships have been embroiled in a dispute concerning Fire District No. 1.
The Lansing City Council has sought to terminate a 2003 interlocal agreement pertaining to the fire district that was signed by representatives of Lansing and the two townships as well as a representative of the Leavenworth County Commission and an assistant attorney general for the state of Kansas.
Lansing officials have argued the assets of the fire district should be split up among the parties upon the termination of the agreement. City officials have indicated they wish to start a new Lansing fire department.
In 2019, attorneys for Delaware and High Prairie townships filed a lawsuit, arguing a termination provision in the agreement is contrary to state law concerning the disorganization of fire districts.
In November, District Judge David King ruled the agreement can be terminated. But the judge ruled an “interlocal agreement cannot be used to require the apportionment of all of the property of a fire district on a party’s termination of the interlocal agreement.”
King also ruled that a city seeking to withdraw from a fire district must do so in accordance with state law.
State law outlines a process in which county commissioners can be petitioned to disorganize a fire district or alter a district’s boundaries.
Attorneys for Lansing filed a motion asking King to alter or amend the judgment.
But King denied the motion in January and reaffirmed his earlier ruling.
Attorneys for Lansing have filed an appeal.