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Millersville Fire District board member files complaint over flier

Friday, April 3, 2009

EDITOR'S NOTE: This article has been re-edited to correct an error. The Missouri Ethics Commission complaint was filed by board member Lori Aufdenberg, not the Millersville Fire District board as a whole.

Two rural fire districts hope Tuesday's election will signal the end of a tumultuous chapter for their fire boards, even as a campaign flier has raised new questions and concerns for current board members in one of the districts.

On Tuesday, Millersville Fire District board member Lori Aufdenberg filed a complaint with the Missouri Ethics Commission over a campaign flier included in the monthly bill sent to Public Water Supply District No. 2 customers, said board chairman Jim Roche.

The flier endorsed Janice Robertson, one of the two candidates vying for an open spot on the three-person fire board in next week's election. Robertson, a former board treasurer, is challenging Aufdenberg.

"My problem is that it appears to be interference in the rural fire district's business," Roche said.

Along with the Millersville Fire District, the East County Fire Protection District has a contested board race on Tuesday's ballot. Each district is also seeking voter permission to expand the board from three to five members to boost public participation and confidence.

Roche said he was happy to see a contested race for the board because it shows an increase in interest and participation, but that the flier from a public body crossed the line.

Both federal and state laws prohibit the use of public funds for political purposes.

It is not stated on the flier whether it was paid for by a private party or by the water district.

"There's something not right with this," Roche said.

There was no attempt to misuse public resources or mislead people about the origin of the flier, Robertson said Thursday. She is friends with water board member John Haines and he suggested that the flier could be mailed with the water district bills, just as the district allows advertisements for day care or other services offered by district customers, she said.

Roberston created the flier on her home computer, she said, paid for the copies and delivered them ready to mail to the water district. The district did not incur any increased postage costs to add the flier to the bill and she did not pay the water district anything, she said.

"There was no extra charge, no money involved, and there was no expense no extra postage," she said.

Roche should have called to ask about the flier before filing the complaint, she added.

Roche said he has not endorsed either candidate and is considering leaving the space blank on next week's ballot.

Calls to the water district were not returned Thursday. Haines did not return a message left on his cell phone.

Robertson said she saw trust, impartiality and honesty as the most important issues facing the fire district.

Lori Aufdenberg said she plans on focusing on finding grant funding to accommodate their increase in the department size.

The board survived a wave of resignations in November when 12 members of the 22-person fire department quit, including the chief Jerry Aufdenberg, over a budgeting disagreement with a maintenance officer.

All of the members who resigned were reinstated following an emergency meeting.

"Everybody has come back, and we've been working quite well as a cohesive unit, I thought, until this happened," Roche said Wednesday.

In the East County Fire Protection District race, Norman Goehman will face Terrence Kelley and Connie Exler in for two seats on the district's board. Kelley and Exler were appointed to the board by Circuit Judge William Syler in the fall after resignations left Pamela Allen as the only remaining member.

The appointments fell to Syler after board chairman Gary Fornkahl resigned shortly after filing a slander lawsuit in which he accused Allen of defaming him in a complaint to the Missouri Ethics Commission over nepotism.

On March 27, Syler granted a motion to dismiss the case.

Staff writer Rudi Keller contributed to this report.



Pertinent addresses:

Millersville, MO

Egypt Mills, MO

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Im a member of the millersville fire dept. and can say Im tired of the untrue statements from Jim Roche And Lori Aufdenberg All members did not come back in November Aufdenberg said Robertson was under investagation And called for a autid of the books Which was found that a good job had been done but by the time this was done Robertsons seat on the board had been apointed to Lonna Haimes One Other Member Stayed away Because Of Problems With Aufdenberg And The Fact Others Backing Aufdenberg Said They Would Leave If This Person Came Back My opinion Roche And Aufdenberg Need To Step Down Or Tell The Truth

-- Posted by firestopper on Fri, Apr 3, 2009, at 8:38 AM

As a member of the fire department, I think this is crazy. We are throwing accusations around for a secretary position. As for the individuals quitting if Janice is elected, LET THEM QUIT! There are 4 people who say they will quit. One of them is the assistant chief who does nothing, but drive a truck anyway. There have been great strides done to put this dept back together and unify us as a whole. Jim Roche is screwing that all up to please Lori. This boards decision to file a complaint was also done without one of the board members knowing anything about it. Now, who's doing illegal actions!

-- Posted by mrfd352 on Fri, Apr 3, 2009, at 10:32 AM

Grow up Lori and Jim! It's an election. Janice did a fine job before when she was on the board. You may have tried to discredit her, but had no luck because she did nothing wrong. She stands behind this department, which is a lot more than I can say for Lori and Jim. You both run when things get rocky and try to blame others. This department needs a change and I think it should start with Lori. Jim needs to go first, but we all know he is not up for reelection yet. Illegal activities have been done by you two for a long time. Janice did nothing wrong, and you know it. She just found another way to get her name out there and that scares Lori. As for Lori finding Grant money, yeah right! This department would have enough stuff for the new people if that were the case. Lori has done nothing, but form her clicks and turn people against one another. Lori is as two faced as they come. Maybe that's why her and Jim get along so well. We need a change!

-- Posted by miller3535 on Fri, Apr 3, 2009, at 10:44 AM

As a member of this fire department for a long time, I must say there are many issues facing this FD. TRUST is the main problem. This article proves that. When did the political issues of a select few misguided people become precedent over helping people in the district when they call on us? As for the illiterate "Firestopper"...WHAT? Who's backing who? Maybe you should slow down and look at the facts. Last November people left the FD over a power trip. They were allowed to come back with allowances. Things have not gotten better, just more sneaky, as witnessed by the current article. The main problem is not the Board, it is the leadership in the FD.

-- Posted by Firelady on Fri, Apr 3, 2009, at 11:13 AM

Quit your sniping back and forth with each other! And that goes for ALL county fire districts, not just the two in this article! Good Lord people--you have at least TWICE as many lives to be concerned about in the name of public safety NOW, as you did a mere FIVE years ago. And there's nothing worse than a bunch of grumble-***** who can't stop their in-fighting when it literally becomes time for "Do or Die Trying". Maybe it's time to clean-house before it costs someone their lives, due to ignorance. Seems like ever since we went to a tax-base funding arrangement---which I honestly think was the best thing to ever happen---it's been nothing but problems in ALL departments, because suddenly we've ALL went from having NOTHING, to an actual surplus of SOMETHING, for once! Your actual hands-on training, as well as your equipment, today is second to none! Be proud of that!

And, what's with the rank-problem? Huh??? Sweet Jesus, you're ALL volunteers---YET?---aren't you? If someone wants to be "Chief-For-A-Day", then let 'em! And if they freeze-up when the time comes to make THREE life-threatening decisions, in the time allowed for only TWO? Boot 'em outta the way, and "Improvise, Adapt, and Overcome" YOURSELF, and show the poor trooper how it's supposed to be done! I moved here 20+ years ago now, and was shocked at the amount of in-fighting that took place in a volunteer organization among folks who would otherwise give you the shirt off their back to help. I was born and raised in a rural area, and know how close one CAN become to each other. But that "game" has apparently been replaced by the almighty dollar, and endless sellouts, and over-development.

So, maybe it's time for a general "house-cleaning", for everyone, perhaps...???

-- Posted by donknome-2 on Fri, Apr 3, 2009, at 11:17 AM



-- Posted by johnlaw484c on Fri, Apr 3, 2009, at 11:21 AM

I am also a voulnteer at millersville. Its time for BOTH sides to grow up!! Most of us joined the firedepartment to help the community, fight fires, help save lives, and to learn. We need to focus on this, not some political dumb stuff. If you are not on the department for the right reasons get off!

-- Posted by mrfd010101 on Fri, Apr 3, 2009, at 1:48 PM

Questions were asked before the fliers were submitted to be sent out with the water bill. The water company said that fliers were allowed. Just because Aufdenberg didn't think of doing it shouldn't be held against Robertson.

Also, as stated, an audit called for by Aufdenberg of Robertson's job performance has proved the job was done correctly. And the audit was suggested because Robertson followed Board rules, that Aufdenberg didn't feel should have been applied to certain people.

For a volunteer position, Aufdenberg sure is playing dirty politics with the help of Roche.

-- Posted by Pups on Fri, Apr 3, 2009, at 4:11 PM

Over the past seven years, I have watched quietly while people have came to be a part of our department, AND SOON LEFT. That had absolutely nothing to do with the Board. The Board of Directors run the business of the Fire Department. The Fire Department itself has not maintained a good system for training new people and, at times, has gone out of their way to GET RID of intelligent worthwhile employees who bring something to the Fire Department. This was the case last November when an employee who works hard for the betterment of the Department was asked to step down from his position for something the Chief profited personally from. When the Board said no to this, a few people decided to throw a HISSY. We did not lose twelve people as the Chief stated. Most of the people who left did not make even half of the calls for the year and NOTHING was done to them. When this department, not the Board, decides to discipline every member in the same manner and become a united team, then, we can have a true Fire Department. Until then, the Board of Directors will do the same job they always do. The Business end of the Fire Department and no more.

-- Posted by Firelady on Sat, Apr 4, 2009, at 10:45 AM

The Fire Department has many extraordinary people involved. These people include, but are not limited to, Travis Aufdenberg, Asst. Chief, and Jody Crutsinger, Maintenance Officer. These two men have worked very hard to ensure that members are trained on driving and operation of the trucks. Without them, alot of the training the new people would NOT have been done. These two men have managed to stay out of the negative limelight for one reason. They HAVE done their job. Anyone who says otherwise should come to the Fire Department and look at the job board, their names are all over it! Thanks guys for all your hard work! Keep it up!

-- Posted by Firelady on Sat, Apr 4, 2009, at 10:53 AM

WHAT? Since when is it acceptable to break the law? The flyers were illegal. Period end of story. When you break other laws you get punished. Should be the same for this one.

I agree with firelady that the problem comes from the dept. leaders & not the board. Mainly the clique that comes from Robertson running in the first place. It's a power trip & nothing more. Her husband even stated that she was only running for spite. Who's being childish?

And as far as her doing a good job as treasurer. I'm told she kept books about as well as any 10 year old could. Didn't know how to itemize or use the program the dept. bought for her to use. Just because the audit didn't find any money missing doesn't mean she did a good job. And for those wondering about the incident that made her quit, the officer being accused of going over budget did not go over his budget for a year. If she had been able to do proper bookkeeping then she would have known this and it never would have been an issue.

And a question for mrfd352 - who said anything about quitting? Do you know something that others don't? Just curious.

This is a volunteer department. They do this without pay. They do it because they love what they do. When it becomes something you do for spite or something for a power trip, it's gone too far. Roberston's little clique needs to be the ones that leave.

And Robertson mentioned that they let others place ads in the water bills. The daycare ad she is referring to is for Lonna's Daycare. Hmmmmmm? See the connection? Another Millersville resident asked to put an ad in the bill and was told no! Go figure!

-- Posted by forpetessake10 on Mon, Apr 6, 2009, at 4:24 PM

Its Time To Stop All The Crap Everyone Knows That FireLady And Lori Aufdenberg Are One In The Same Its Time To Stop The Lyes As For As The Fliers Lori Has Them Out As Well With no Disclaimer on Hers. Plus The Fact It Has Fire Dept. Water Mark On Them If Janice Did Something Wrong Than So Did Lori This Election Is About The Candidates Its Not About Every One That Is Being Drug Into This The Comments Were Suspost To Stay On Topic But Lori Reads It The Way She Wants It To Read And Gets Off The Topic This Is The Same Way She Has Tryed To Control The Board I Myself Will Be Glad When This Is Over We Are To Act As A Team And Not A Bunch Of Little Kids GROW UP PLEASE

-- Posted by firestopper on Mon, Apr 6, 2009, at 6:05 PM


Lets see, money comes in. Gets recorded. Money goes out, it gets recorded. By laws state that money can not go out without Board approval. The person(part of Aufdenberg's clique) who caused all the problems was lead to believe by Ms. Aufdenberg that it was ok to spend money on the fire department business charge accounts without prior approval. The only thing Robertson did was follow the rules that persons were to get board approval for spendatures prior to spending.

Seems you are the one with the infant brain that can't figure out how the rules work. Let me guess you are part of the 'Aufdenberg 4' (Lori, her husband, the guy who started all the mess, and his wife)that have threatened to quit now that Lori lost? You are a joke and the Millersville VOLUNTEER Fire Department would be better off without you anyway. You're the one that needs to grow up and learn how adults conduct the true business of serving their community.

-- Posted by Pups on Tue, Apr 7, 2009, at 11:38 PM

OK pups, it is EXPENDITURES, not spenditurs and the fact that you can't spell it means you are the one with the infant brain. And call out time is here. I know I'm Firelady. I never tried to hide it. I think its time for the fire department to have a full sit down so that everyone can get their facts straight. I never called for an audit, Jody Crutsinger had approval from the Chief for what he did and the only clique around here is all the folks who congregate at the Robertson's for the last month of Saturdays. The rest of us are just trying to do our jobs. What happens now is in the hands of the Missouri Ethics Commission? Maybe they can fix the problems because no one else can.

-- Posted by Firelady on Wed, Apr 8, 2009, at 9:45 AM


Oh so sorry, I didn't use the exact wording, but you obviously understood. And oh, did I hit a nerve???? Are you saying you didn't play the "if I'm not elected I quit and so does my husband" card?? Maybe if your attitude was different, you might have kept your seat on the Board.

Maybe the people that gathered at the Robertson's (and I was not one of them btw) are the ones that encouraged Robertson to run and win against you.

"The rest of us are just trying to do our jobs. [b](Well if you had done your 'job' you wouldn't have lost)[/b] What happens now is in the hands of the Missouri Ethics Commission? [b](Maybe they should look into your petty actions.)[/b]Maybe they can fix the problems because no one else can.[b](Problem solved by you not winning re-election)[/b]

-- Posted by Pups on Wed, Apr 8, 2009, at 12:34 PM

Oh and firelady (lady yeah right!!),

Would be very interresting to check your 'facts' with the fire chief, before spouting off in newspaper articles. Oh, wait, you can't because that would mean everything you say is a lie or at the very least a half truth.

Oh, don't care if I spell correctly on a public forum. But, feel free to continue to correct me. It makes you look so 'cool'. NOT!!

-- Posted by Pups on Wed, Apr 8, 2009, at 12:42 PM

Also, I was not the one that called Firelady out as Lori. Maybe if you learned to read properly you would address your concerns with the right person.

It's been fun, and you're done!!

-- Posted by Pups on Wed, Apr 8, 2009, at 6:49 PM

Also, I was not the one that called Firelady out as Lori. Maybe if you learned to read properly you would address your concerns with the right person.

It's been fun, and you're done!!

-- Posted by Pups on Wed, Apr 8, 2009, at 6:49 PM


I know a lot about what goes on amongst the fire department. My husband is on the department and there are several of you that have tried to persuade my husband and I to join the band wagon with you against the chief and anyone that wants to back him. I was told by two different people that if Janice was to win, which she did, that they and their significant other would quit. I was really wishing to hear that you had, but i guess you cannot even keep that promise. The fact is the election is over and Lori has lost. She can now return to being a firefighter and first responder and not have to worry about running to the president everyday. Best of luck to all the department.

-- Posted by mrfd352 on Sat, Apr 11, 2009, at 11:41 PM

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