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Raywick appoints new fire chief

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Investigation into misuse of fire department funds is ongoing

By Stevie Lowery

The Raywick Fire Department appointed a new fire chief Monday night.

Herman Riggs was elected to be the new fire chief and Gary Harris was elected lieutenant.

Former Raywick Fire Chief Chuck Helm resigned last month.

According to Helm, who had been chief since 2004, his out-of-town job commitments caused him to be away from the community too much, which is why he decided to resign. However, Kevin Corbett, who was the acting chief until Monday evening, said the department and Helm had a "disagreement," which led to Helm's resignation.

Following Helm's resignation, the department began an internal investigation into possible misuse of funds, and that investigation is ongoing, according to Corbett.

A couple of months ago, Raywick firefighters contacted Marion County Judge/Executive John G. Mattingly with some concerns they had, and asked to meet with Mattingly and Marion County Attorney Joe Mattingly. But, because the Raywick Fire Department is an independent organization, it's not the county's place to interfere, Mattingly said.

However, the county gives money to the Raywick Fire Department annually. Usually, the county gives the department two allocations - $11,000 in July and another $11,000 in January. Last year, the county gave a $10,000 grant to the department and also gave them a $50,000 loan toward the construction of their new building. As a result, the county now withholds $5,000 per allocation to use toward the payment of that loan, which they are expected to pay back within the next five years.