NEW MARKET (WATE) – The New Market Fire Chief faces charges for stealing $1,100 from the department he serves.
“It’s inexcusable to me and needs to be pursued,” Bob Edwards said.
A Jefferson County grand jury indicted Chief Frank Solomon on one count of theft of more than $1,000, one count of theft of below $500, one count of sales tax fraud more than $500, and two counts official misconduct.
“It’s really sad to see that someone would take advantage of that,” Simon Poe said.
Previous story: New Market fire stands by chief despite theft indictment
According to the Tennessee State Comptroller, Chief Solomon told investigators that he charged personal purchases to the fire department’s accounts, like auto parts and decals for his personal vehicles.
“I think it’s sad,” Odessa Ests said. “The New Market Fire Department really needs the money for them. I hate it for the people in this community and the firefighters, especially honest firefighters who work hard.”
City council members voted to defund the volunteer fire department’s budget in June 2016, leaving firefighters to work from donations, fundraisers and adding subscriptions. The department declined to comment on their revenue source and subscription service. Their most recent tax filing from 2015 shows they took in revenue of $243,000.
“I was disappointed to hear the news, if it turns out to be true,” Bob Edwards said. “You like to think the money that you give, it should go to the place it should.”
Previous story: New Market fire chief indicted on theft charges
WATE 6 On Your Side spoke with many in the New Market community who expressed their disappointment and hope for justice.
“I’m really sad for the community because the volunteer fire department is really involved and they do a really good job of bringing the community together,” Poe said.
Some community members called for a third party to monitor the department’s financial activities moving forward.
“It kind of makes you wonder if there needs to be more oversight to keep an eye on this,” Edwards said.
State Sen. Frank Nicely issued this statement on Solomon’s arrest:
“Frankie may want to have a second pair of eyes on his books but he’s done a great job over the years for Jefferson County. I hope he can get this straightened out and continue the good work for the county.”