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Hanceville fire chief fired after dispute on purchasing

HANCEVILLE (AP) — The Hanceville City Council has fired the city’s fire chief, who had been suspended by the mayor in a disagreement on purchasing practices.

Fire Chief Mike Watson and Mayor Katie Whitley have accused each other of violating state bid law.

The suspension of Watson by the mayor came after The Cullman Times reported that the mayor may have violated state bid laws by allegedly asking Watson to purchase fire safety equipment worth $47,000 in small batches to avoid having to seek bids.

The suspension notice from Whitley accused Watson of purchasing irregularities. It also said he used a city vehicle for personal reasons, improperly gave away city fire equipment and intimidated a vendor doing business with the city. Watson denied the allegations, and members of the Hanceville Volunteer Fire Department quit answering calls to protest the suspension.

At its Monday meeting when it fired Watson, the council also voted to advertise for a full-time fire chief and two full-time certified firefighters and to accept applications for volunteer firefighters.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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