Albion firefighters walk out after council decision

ALBION – Several volunteer firefighters and EMS workers in Albion have walked off the job after a decision by the town’s city council to keep a person on the department who they say has a vendetta against them.

The council decided Monday to table a decision until December on whether to remove council member Todd Kelley from the fire department and EMS. Members of the department and EMS voted to remove Kelley on Aug. 11 and hoped the city council would follow suit Monday to make it official. Several department volunteers handed in their equipment after the council’s decision to table the issue.

Suzie Wenner was one of them and she claims Kelley “wreaks havoc” on the department. She claimed Kelley didn’t show up for training sessions, intimidates other members and showed up intoxicated to a drowning call four years ago when he was Albion fire chief.

“He has threatened people in the department,” Wenner said.

Kelley did not comment after the meeting but did deny before the meeting that he showed up to an emergency call drunk. He said he was on worker’s compensation after losing his job with Marshall County, which was a reason he missed the training sessions.

Albion Mayor Lynne Borton said after the meeting they hope to talk things out before the decision in December.

“We have some people (in the fire department) who feel things weren’t going the way they want it to,” Borton said. “We have issues with the ‘he said’, ‘she said’ and I don’t want to lose anybody.”

Borton said some information came to light during a closed session meeting Monday which provided a good reason for Kelley missing training sessions.

Council member Keith Balvanz told a crowd of volunteer firefighters and EMS personnel after the meeting that Kelley and Fire Chief Doug Loffgren are going to take time to talk it out.

“They are going to try to square things out with each other,” Balvanz told the crowd.

Wenner also claimed Kelley signed in as a fire department/EMS worker at Marshalltown Speedway one month ago and proceeded to drink while he was there.

Borton said Kelley did not sign in as a fire department/EMS worker at the speedway and drink as members of the department claim.

Fire department/EMS volunteer Kim Snyder said there would be very few people left in the Albion fire department after this decision.

“Everybody’s turning in their gear,” Snyder said.

Contact Andrew Potter at 641-753-6611 or