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 While the bill was retracted and labeled a mistake, city officials never shared who was responsible for deciding a bill should be sent out.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.