Jasper officially no longer Somerset fire chief

·2 min read

Sep. 28—Somerset's Fire Chief Tyler Jasper is now the former fire chief, according to statements made by the city and Jasper's attorney.

Jasper had been placed on administrative leave due to a "pending personnel matter," according to Mayor Alan Keck in a statement made in early September.

Through an Open Records request by the Commonwealth Journal, it was learned that matter concerned the sale of old Fire Department equipment by Jasper in which Jasper didn't follow the city's surplus equipment procedures.

On Tuesday, Jasper's attorney, Carrie Wiese, issued a joint statement from Jasper and the City of Somerset.

"The City and Mr. Jasper's legal counsel were able to reach an amicable and joint agreement which allowed both parties to avoid the time and expense of a hearing before the City Council. Although Mr. Jasper is no longer employed by the City of Somerset per said agreement, Mr. Jasper appreciates the opportunity to have served as the City's Fire Chief for many years, and is looking forward to the next chapter in his emergency services career. He would like to wish his colleagues at the Somerset Fire Department continued health and safety as they perform their daily duties for the citizens of this City and County."

Mayor Alan Keck also stated Tuesday afternoon, "We are glad to resolve the matter with the former Chief Jasper amicably."

That just leaves the question of who is currently running the fire department. After Jasper was placed on leave, Keck said that SFD was being run "administratively by training and administrative officer Bengie Howard and day-to-day operations (are being carried out by) the battalion chiefs, Kenny Shepherd, Coby Dykes and Sam Hudson."

It appears that for the time being, that will not change.

"I am not ready to make any announcement on a successor," Keck said Tuesday. "The department is being effectively run by the administration officer and our battalion chiefs at this time."

Jasper was hired by former Mayor Girdler in July 2013. He had been working with the Somerset EMS at the time he was hired as fire chief.

Since that time, Jasper received disciplinary actions in both Girdler's and Keck's administrations. Those include a three-day suspension and the requirement to take three anger management classes in 2017 under Girdler, and an incident under Keck that required more anger management classes after Jasper got into a confrontation with a member of the public after an accident where a SFD fire truck damaged a building on Sallee Street.

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