The newly appointed regime at the Iola Volunteer Fire Department has a convicted felon as the assistant fire chief.
The board was restructured last night after the fire department found out that three members of the Iola Volunteer Fire Department ,who all happen to be related, are charged with embezzling thousands of dollars from the department.
We found out that the newly appointed assistant fire chief Michael Kimich is on probation for cattle theft. He's also the husband of one of the suspects charged with embezzling thousands of dollars from the department.
When we went to find the suspects at their homes, we were told to get off the property and leave.
In reaction to the felon on the board, one resident said," Leave us alone. We have enough problems, and you keep pushing them. They have the same people in there. Go away."
Kimich is serving a five year probation sentence for cattle theft.
Over a six month period in 2008, he stole eight head of cattle over at least four instances from three Grimes County ranchers. His wife is Samantha Kimich---one of the suspects accused of stealing more than $40,000 from the department.
Some residents didn't care that a felon was on their board.
"Whatever they want to do, that's their business," said one resident.
"I think there was an oversight, and they need to have another election," said another resident.
With a population of about 500, most residents stand a common ground---that they are glad the three department leaders charged with theft are being investigated.
It's a process that's tedious according to the Grimes County Sheriff who says he's glad there's a board ready to protect the community because fires don't take a break and neither can the department.
"The one that is in there now is in the rebuilding process of the public image and gathering trust in the community, and I wish them the best," said Grimes County Sheriff Don Sowell.
The Sheriff says the investigation should be completed in the next week.