Fire chief fired in Lebanon after engine acccident

Perry Gerome had been suspended, pay docked earlier in year.

Lebanon has fired its embattled fire chief after the city manager said the chief again failed to follow policies and procedures.

Capt. Steven Johnson was named acting chief, replacing Perry Gerome on Monday.

Gerome was replaced after investigation of an accident involving one of the Lebanon Fire Department’s engines, according to a statement issued Tuesday.

“As a result of an investigation conducted by City Manager Pat Clements regarding a traffic accident involving one of the city’s fire engines, it was determined that city policies and procedures were not followed. As a consequence, and in light of previous disciplinary action, Fire Chief Gerome’s employment with the City of Lebanon was terminated on Sept 19, 2016,” according to the statement.

Gerome declined to comment Tuesday.

Gerome, hired in 2014, was issued an ultimatum earlier this year by Clements and disciplined for abuse of authority.

This spring, Gerome was suspended without pay for five days, ordered to reimburse the city $1,025 and provide his department ethics training as punishment, according to city records.

In May, a Germantown woman complained about Gerome’s response to a crash involving his staff vehicle and her car on Broadway in Lebanon.

Gerome left the scene without calling a police officer, but was not faulted in this case after an investigation by Clements.

Gerome’s firing was prompted by a crash on Aug. 31 in which of one of the department’s fire engines scraped against a utility pole, Clements said this morning in emails.

The truck sustained damage to the brackets that attach the ground ladders to the side of the vehicle, Clements said.

Police were not notified, according to the city’s accident report.

The report indicates Firefighter Adam Ansley was driving the department’s reserve engine after stopping for lunch at Subway following a training exercise.

The truck scraped a pole at Mound Court and Mound Street, but the damage was discovered back at the fire station, Ansley said in his statement.

“While turning, another car approached from the opposite direction, causing me to turn sharp to avoid the vehicle. After clearing the intersection, I believed I made it without incident,” Ansley said in the statement.

Upon discovering the damage, Ansley alerted his supervisor, Lt. Michael Thumann, who alerted Gerome, according to the report.

Ansley was advised the reserve engine was longer than the department’s other engine and “told to be more cautious when driving that engine,” Thumann said in a description of his actions resulting from the incident.

In response to a request for all of Gerome’s disciplinary records, the city released nothing created since the April disciplinary process, except two short administrative orders terminating Gerome and naming Johnson as the acting fire chief and photographs of the damaged fire truck and pole.

It was unclear why he was fired after this incident, but he was under scrutiny due to the previous issues.

In April, Clements advised Gerome a “further lapse in leadership ” would cost him his job.

“Your willful disregard of the ethical standards of public employment and your demonstrated lack of leadership has caused me to seriously question whether you are able to effectively serve in the position of fire chief. Further lapse in leadership and judgment on your part will result in termination of your employment,” Clements said in an April 25 disciplinary letter obtained by the newspaper.

Clements declined to comment further Tuesday.

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