TWIN FALLS — The city’s fire chief is still on administrative leave, and Twin Falls administration isn’t saying why or for how long.
The city is conducting an investigation of Tim Soule, who was placed on paid leave Aug. 29. City Manager Travis Rothweiler would not disclose the reason for the investigation or Soule’s leave, but assured it was not connected to any criminal or illegal activity.
Soule was sworn in as fire chief Oct. 17, 2016, and makes an annual salary of $123,188.
The department’s day-to-day operations continue to be managed by three battalion chiefs and the captains under them, Rothweiler said Friday.
“It’s really the same process we use when members of our team are on vacation or sick,” he said.
He declined to give details about the investigation or provide a timeline for when it might be complete. The city is ensuring accuracy rather than setting artificial timelines on the conclusion of the investigation, Rothweiler said.
He did not know when a department manager for the city was last placed on administrative leave, but said he was not aware of it happening in his tenure as city manager since 2008.
Soule is an Ohio native who began his firefighting career in the Cleveland suburbs. He also had experience in Montana and western Nevada prior to his hiring in Twin Falls, his first position at the top of a department.
He hasn’t been available for comment on the investigation.
Soule implemented new policies in the department shortly after taking command. Firefighters began responding to medical emergencies as well as fires, handling 14 medical calls a day.
“That’s been a huge change for the department,” Soule told the Times-News in February. “It’s resulted in a dramatic increase in our run volume, additional training for our guys and a lot of interactions with other agencies.”
The city also is pursuing new plans to renovate two of the city’s fire stations, rebuild one in a different location and add a fourth station as the city grows.
Soule expressed no signs there were troubles in the department or his personal life during a lengthy interview with the newspaper four months after becoming chief. Soule said he and his wife were happy, and he said he supported the city’s vision and leadership.
“I like being the man. I like that the buck stops here, and there’s not too many other places to look at if you don’t like the way things are going, you just look at what you’re doing,” he said. “So, I think it’s been a very positive experience for me, professionally and personally.”