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Monteagle Without Fire Dept. After 15 Firemen Resign

Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2020 at 1:30 pm

At a city workshop on Monday, Monteagle’s entire volunteer fire department resigned in support of Mike Holmes, the former fire chief.

According to a City Council member, Mike Holmes was fired by the vice mayor, Tony Gilliam, at the conclusion of the workshop. Holmes was recently convicted of criminally negligent homicide in the 2017 death of Shelby Comer, but he will not be sentenced until April. Gilliam presented letters from two different attorneys at the workshop, each having what appears to be contradictory opinions on allowing Holmes to stay on in his role of chief until his sentencing.

While one attorney stated it was best to place Holmes on leave, the other attorney explained that nothing should be done until the sentencing.

Gilliam took over and without any vote or discussion with other council members, he informed Holmes he was terminated immediately and would be paid by the city until his sentencing.

The 15-person, state-certified, volunteer firemen immediately resigned their positions and returned to the fire hall and removed their personal belongings.

While the council member was unclear if cities in Tennessee are allowed to have felons on their payroll, the city council member said that Monteagle currently employs several felons.

As of the time of this posting, Monteagle was without a fire department. The Herald was told that Mayor Sampley and the vice-mayor were meeting with potential candidates to fill the empty positions on Tuesday morning, but the Mayor did not return our phone call to confirm this.