Board member says Applegate Fire Chief was improperly placed on leave

APPLEGATE, Ore.– A board member of the Applegate Fire Department is going public after its’ chief was placed on administrative leave.

One board member claims the board president didn’t follow the proper procedures before placing the Chief on leave.

Applegate Fire Chief Mike McLaughlin was placed on leave indefinitely last month, according to Interim Chief Chris Wolfard.

Now, a member of the fire department’s board of directors said McLaughlin was improperly placed on leave.

Craig Hamm, a board member of the fire department, said the board received a complaint from a volunteer about McLaughlin.

He said the board never consulted McLaughlin about the complaint, which is policy.

Hamm said Board President Rob Underwood overstepped his authority.

Hamm said, “Rob Underwood, the president, and his agenda basically, he’s running wild. He’s not following protocol, policy, public laws.”

Hamm believes members of the board are planning to fire McLaughlin at the board’s meeting later this month.

Hamm started a petition in support of the Chief that people can sign at the Ruch Country Store.

NBC5 spoke with Underwood last month, he declined to elaborate on why McLaughlin was placed on leave.

NBC5 reached out to him again today, but haven’t heard back.

The Oregon Ethics Commission has confirmed it did  receive a complaint about the Applegate Fire Department.

But it couldn’t comment further.

NBC5 News reporter Derek Strom is from Renton, Washington. He recently graduated from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communications at Washington State University with a degree in Broadcast News and a minor in Sports Management. He played in the drumline with the WSU marching band. These days, he plays the guitar and piano. Derek is a devoted fan of the Mariners, Seahawks, and Kraken.
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