Lafayette officials question fiduciary on “irrational” ideas
LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – Tensions are mounting between Fairfield Township Administrator Taletha Coles and several government officials.
As News 18 reported, the problems emerged after the township’s last two employees quit their jobs last week.
The Township of Fairfield Trustee‘s office on Wabash Avenue is now closed to the public, with a sign posted on the front door stating that business is conducted by email and phone.
Sources tell News 18 this is just the latest in a series of questionable actions by the administrator.
“I thought she was kidding”
The Lafayette Fire Department serves rural areas of Fairfield Township in exchange for an annual payment that often runs in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, says Fire Chief Richard Doyle.
But payments have dried up since Coles took office in 2019.
“We’ve had issues over the past few years trying to get this funding, which creates a problem within the fire department for me trying to save for some items,” Doyle said.
The payments help LFD buy the necessary equipment. But during negotiations this year with firefighters over an equipment wishlist, Doyle says Coles made a strange suggestion: buy a helicopter.
“When she said that I thought she was joking but she wasn’t… in my opinion that was irrational,” Doyle said. “I need $ 300,000 for cargo equipment. I don’t need a helicopter.”
“Incredibly bad decision”
Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski said this was not Coles’ first questionable idea: she also suggested building her own fire department in the rural part of the township.
“Which is just an incredibly bad decision,” says Roswarski. “We have an ISO 2 rated fire department, which puts us in the top 1% of all fire departments in the country. They couldn’t buy all the equipment we have and the workforce. that we have and the specialties that we have. They get an incredible deal. “
“When we talk about emergency and response services, the people of the Township of Fairfield should be concerned,” adds Doyle. “We will continue to provide them with excellent service, but the current situation is not doing them any good. “
Roswarski says he is also concerned about what he calls a “mass exodus” of employees who have quit their jobs in the township.
“I am very concerned about how often the door is locked and that there is no one there.”
Doyle says LFD will continue to serve the entire Township of Fairfield, which collects hundreds of thousands of dollars in property taxes each year for fire departments.
News 18 wanted to ask Coles about her plans for that money, but she did not respond to a request for an interview.