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December 14, 2011 - 9:02am

Corfu Fire District commissioner objects to media reports that he was 'disciplined'

posted by Howard B. Owens in corfu, Corfu Fire District.

Bob Ammon wants his name cleared.

The longtime Corfu Fire District board member objected Tuesday night to media reports a month ago that he was disciplined by his fellow commissioners.

"I think my name was really disgraced and it really sucks," Ammon said. "I wanted to stay in my house and hide but I’m not because I did nothing wrong."

The fire district's attorney, Mark Boylan, said it was not the intention of the commissioners to "discipline" Ammon when they voted to seek his resignation from the board Nov. 16.

Commissioner Linda Tucker read the minutes from the previous meeting and the word "discipline" was not used in the resolution asking Ammon to resign, nor was it used in the section calling for the suspension from the fire department of Jeff Ammon and Shari Salim.

Jeff Ammon and Shari Salim are accused of inappropriately using district credit cards for personal purchases. The money was repaid to the district, though some question remains about late fees accumulated related to the charges.

The use of the cards was first publicly addressed in a NYC comptroller's report and then further researched by a fire district ethics committee.

Both the recommendation that Jeff Ammon and Shari Salim be suspended and the request for Bob Ammon to resign came from the committee.

Tuesday, Bob Ammon said he won't resign.

"I've lived in this community my whole life," Ammon said. "I thought many of you were my friends at one time. I wish I could get this back to being sensible again and move on."

Following the Nov. 16 meeting, both The Batavian and the Batavia Daily News reported that Bob Ammon, Jeff Ammon and Shari Salim were "disciplined" by the commissioners.

Boylan told Ammon that nobody with the district told either publication Ammon was being disciplined. It was, he said, "a misunderstanding" of the board's action.

The ethic committee's report did mention Bob Ammon in connection with one use of a district credit card where there were no receipts for the purchase. It was a charge at Dick's Sporting Goods. Ammon said he purchased equipment, with board authorization, for the fire department's exercise room.

Tuesday's meeting was often emotional with years-old issues being argued and some tears from Sandy Ammon, whose Bob's wife and the mother of Jeff and Shari.

"We've had three phone calls in the last month from other departments asking us to join," Sandy said. "The other departments are sticking behind them (Jeff and Shari). Go to these other departments and see what they're saying. We've been getting phone calls and my son and daughter have been getting phone calls.

"Most of you have had a grudge against the Ammon family for years," Sandy later added, "and now they’re out of the fire department."

Bob Ammon said the turn of events have been painful for his son, a former chief and former firefighter of the year.

When Jeff took his lights off his car, there were some tears, Ammon said.

"He told me, 'Dad, I did wrong, but I didn't do nothing to those people.'"

One fact related to the credit cards not previously reported and mentioned by Sandy, is that when the district applied for the credit cards, the district used Jeff's and Shari's credit history to get approval for the cards.

Boylan told Bob Ammon that pending a final CPA audit, the case is pretty much over and nothing has been referred to the District Attorney's Office nor the Sheriff's Office for a possible criminal investigation. There is no criminal investigation, he said.

Before adjourning, the board voted 4-0 (Ammon recused himself) to reduce Shari's suspension from the department from two years to one year. Under NYS law, the board doesn't have authority to suspended somebody for more than one year.

Also on Tuesday, district voters elected a new commissioner to a five-year term.  Bruce Fauth, the only name on the ballot, received 36 votes. Jeff Ammon received 14 votes as a write-in candidate.

Lisa Falkowski
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This is not a personal attack to the individuals themselves (the offenders). I would feel this way regardless of who the offenders were/are..

You dont' believe you should have been treated in this manner or chastised publicly? Do the crime ... be ready to do the time. Personally, I feel you've all gotten off pretty easy up to this point. Shame on you!

andre miller
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Lisa I agree! You did the crime, now do the time. Committing a crime, shame comes with it. This situation makes Corfu look bad. And I agree they got off very easy!

Howard B. Owens
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To be clear, nobody has been accused of a crime. There is no criminal investigation.

andre miller
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ok well inappropriate use of a fire companies credit card is wrong. And the person knew it when they swiped the credit card. Its called a conscience.

Lisa Falkowski
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Joined: Jun 23 2009 - 10:29am

Howard -
Poor choice of words on my part.
It was the "phrase" I was getting at.
I do understand that there have been no accusations made at this time.

Andre -
I agree!

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