Emails Shed New Light on $96,700 Jerome Fire Bill

2013-09-13T08:00:00Z Emails Shed New Light on $96,700 Jerome Fire BillBy Kimberlee Kruesi - kkruesi@magicvalley.com Twin Falls Times-News

JEROME • Jerome city administrator Polly Hulsey ordered former fire chief Jack Krill to take the fall for the city’s $96,700 bill that they later admitted was a mistake, according to city emails obtained by the Times-News.

In the emails, Krill reached out to Mayor John Shine to discuss the fallout of a nearly $100,000 bill that was sent to a private citizen in May for responding to a large, downtown fire. While the bill was retracted and labeled a mistake, city officials never shared who was responsible for deciding a bill should be sent out.

“Polly asked me who was going to pay for this,” Krill wrote to Shine in an email on June 4. “I told her that the city would have to pick up the tab. She asked something like why don’t we just bill them like the semi-truck fire last year. I tried to explain how that was different, but she insisted that I at least try. ...”

After the story about the $96,700 bill broke, Krill wrote in an email to Shine that Hulsey told him he would have to take the heat for the mistake.

“We spoke on the phone on (May) 23rd, and she mentioned that she was worried about this causing her to lose her job,” Krill wrote to Shine. “I didn’t think she would make me out to be the fall guy for this.”

Krill could not be reached for comment when contacted by the Times-News. Krill resigned from the city Sept. 4.

Hulsey wasn’t aware such an email existed when the Times-News contacted her Thursday. However, she denied Krill’s claims and said he was the one who came up with the decision to bill the building owner.

The downtown fire occurred on April 30 and is the largest fire in Jerome's history. Starting at 126 West Main St., the fire burned through 130 West Main St. and 132 West Main St., causing more than $1 million in damages.

“It's certainly not my idea. So, yes, I would say it was him, but I don't think he (meant) any ill harm,” Hulsey said.

Krill was asked to apologize in front of the city council, but not because he was the only one taking the blame for the bill, Hulsey said.

“I don’t know where he’s coming from,” she said.

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(7) Comments

  1. ladyelaine
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    ladyelaine - September 14, 2013 9:17 am
    Inside,

    Your points are well taken, but to take this a little further.... The symptomatic cause of what has happened/is happening in Jerome is an overall breakdown in people understanding what their jobs are and DOING them. You mention that someone saying the council needs to be replaced hasn't been paying attention and might want to come to a meeting? To do what - see the circus play out between Jerome mayor and council, or council and staff? The council are the POLICYMAKERS. Start making some policy! Or find someone that can help them do it. They need to provide the framework that defines what direction the CIty is headed in, and what the details of those plans are so that everyone is on the same page. Jerome council got to play the good cops vs. everyone else as the bad cops during the whole fire invoice fiasco? Fine, good for them, but it still doesn't solve the giant merry go round Jerome is on. Their missing the point completely and it's total knee jerk reaction if they think the fire Invoice should have gone to them first. That's an absolute administrative responsibility. The council complains that no communications being shared for MONTHS? Ah shucks - maybe next time right? No, that would be your right. Granted the council does not operate in a vacuum and yes the sitting mayor and administrator need to go to (ego's and wilting flowers need not apply) but there is definitely strength in numbers and it's only up from here.
  2. InsideStory
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    InsideStory - September 14, 2013 3:32 am
    The ones saying the Council needs to be replaced and time for a change are not paying attention. You might want to attend meetings before throwing stones. I have been to some meetings and have watched the Council complain about no communication with them for months and months.
    The fire bill itself was never presented for councils approval before release nor was it ever mentioned. It was kept a complete secret. From what I know it was a secret for 7-10 days in City Hall. The Mayor, Krill, Hulsey and others new about it and never once mentioned it to a Council member? Wow.

    Krill is not the fall guy, he was part many problems for a long time. Ask his fire team, he is far from a hero in this town or his past employment. Aside from the fact that he charged Ms. Moore for his personal time, billed for donated food from El Sombraro, and took it upon himself to bill for the aide from other agencies that quickly told him to remove them from the "bill". After his past and current issues, I doubt he will find a job in firefighting soon.
    Mayor Shine is the man behind a uncontrollable ego that has single handedly destroyed relationships with the community, employees and from what I gather others. Hence the competition he has running for his seat.
    I saw two Council members accept responsibility for the situation and had nothing at all to do with it. Then they got to hear Mayor Ego say, "oops, it was sent in error" and never saying "I'm sorry" until he was called out by one of the Council as lying. I know this, I was in the audience.
    Many citizens and business class would love a chance to run for office but not until certain leaders get a good spanking.
  3. ladyelaine
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    ladyelaine - September 13, 2013 9:35 pm
    “Polly asked me who was going to pay for this,” Krill wrote to Shine in an email on June 4. “I told her that the city would have to pick up the tab. She asked something like why don’t we just bill them like the semi-truck fire last year. I tried to explain how that was different, but she insisted that I at least try. ...”

    btw, you literally could not make this stuff up. Hilarious!
  4. ladyelaine
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    ladyelaine - September 13, 2013 9:20 pm
    "So why is she still there ?"

    Because the people that hired her are still in office and don't want egg on their faces, especially during an election year. It's a lose-lose situation for Jerome because officials have had no backbone to let her go when they have had the chance, and now that the jigs up for her "management" style, we'll wait with baited breath (I'm sure) for the next lawsuit to drop as soon as real leadership can take over and get it over with.
  5. Ardee
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    Ardee - September 13, 2013 1:16 pm
    I am glad to see someone is pushing the envelope on the city of Jerome. a serious change is needed in that city. lack luster leadership for far to long its time for Hulsey to go and new mayor and council members with forward thinking actions to grow this dying community.
  6. Morty358
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    Morty358 - September 13, 2013 12:04 pm
    Seriously, is this all a surprise? I truly think it is time for a big change! Mrs. Hulsey needs to go and deal with her other mess from her previous employment. Its time to have some true leadership in Jerome. I think we have a need to clear house! The leadership of the city are only looking out for themselves. The people who pay their salaries are NOT getting their monies worth on this deal!!!
  7. bassettlvr
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    bassettlvr - September 13, 2013 9:16 am
    So if we have it in a email then why is she still saying she did not order him to be the fall guy???. I think she should lose her job.She has placed her self in a position not to be trusted . So why is she still there ?

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