CHAPMANVILLE - Tensions arose somewhat at the regular session of the Chapmanville Town Council on Monday evening when the town's fire chief, Tommy Perry, addressed rumors that his family was using town equipment on their private property.
Perry said the rumors were that his son, Cody, who is the captain of the Chapmanville Fire Department, and himself were seen using equipment such as a backhoe and a dump truck at their residences for personal use. Perry did not name who the rumors came from, but asserted that it came from within the council members.
"We don't need that equipment," Perry said. "I got family that owns trucking companies and excavating companies. We don't use that equipment. We don't need that equipment. Yes, that equipment has been at the station and doing work at the station. I consider that city property. I'm hearing too much of it, and I want to stop it before it gets blown out of proportion."
"Well that's assuming that what you're hearing is coming from here, and it's not," Mayor Raamie Barker quickly replied. Barker then said the only issue the council had was that a town employee was working at Cody Perry's house while on the clock - and added that the claim came from "very solid people."
"That's all that was said," Barker said.
Both the elder and younger Perry were quick in responding to that accusation as well, with Tommy Perry saying that the only people working at any of their residences is family.
Cody's wife, Cortney, then interjected and said she has receipts totaling up to $5,000 that prove the work was not completed by a town employee. Several people then began speaking at once, which caused Barker to raise his voice in an attempt to quell the tension.
"If you want to speak, you can speak in turn, OK? All of you," Barker said. "We have a public place here. I don't want a bunch of people to start yelling all at once and not get to the bottom of this. OK?"
"I've been here 34 years. I don't need that equipment," Perry said. "We've done everything honest for 34 years, and I want to keep it like that."
Perry then suggested he and the council speak privately after the meeting. The members all agreed to hold an executive session to discuss the matter.
"I ain't going to bring it up in public," Perry said. "I respect the people that's telling me this too much."
In other news from Chief Perry's fire report, he said the department has been approved for a $30,000 grant from the Gary Sinise Foundation for the purchase of new rescue tools. The tools will be at the station within the next two weeks.
Dylan Vidovich is a news reporter for HD Media. Contact him by phone at 304-896-5196 or follow him on Twitter @DVidovichLB.