Milford fire chief of 20 years placed on paid leave
MILFORD, Mich. (WJBK) - For nearly two decades Lawrence Waligora has been the head of Milford's Fire Department as fire chief. But last week that all changed after a decision was made by the seven-member Milford Board of Trustees.
FOX 2 has learned that he is on paid administrative leave, but right now officials are tight-lipped about the reason behind the move.
"He has no job to do or perform while we evaluate the fire department
"On April 22, he met with the attorney and was put on paid administrative leave and he went over to the fire station picked up his personal effects and that was it," said Donald Green, Milford Township supervisor.
As for now, the leaders at the fire and police departments will help manage day-to-day activity at the fire department
"We'll have Police Chief Tom Loenberg doing administrative duties of fire department and assistant chief Tom Moore will be head of the fire department," said Green.
But questions about what led to the move remain unanswered.
"The agreement says he won't say anything about us and we won't say anything about him, period," Green said. "Anything else, you will have to talk to attorney about it."
FOX 2 reached out to the labor attorney for the township and our calls were not returned.
We also went the home of Waligora. No one was at home, but he did respond by saying he has no comment and is not allowed to speak to the media.
Officials say as they work through this transitional period they will explore various options on how to run the fire department.
"We're looking at ways we can be more efficient in the fire department and do better service," Green said.
Officials say right now every member of the fire department is paid on call and the only full-time position is that of the fire chief.
Officials say the paid-on-call fire response system is the most economical and efficient way to run a fire department in a community of this size and they do not plan to explore the possibility of Milford moving to a full Public Safety system.
As for now Green says Waligora will continue to earn his annual salary of about $75,000 plus medical benefits - but the question is for how long.
"I have no idea, it could be a week, a year, it's a board decision," Green said.