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Edmond Fire Chief submits resignation

Resignation of Edmond, Oklahoma, Fire Chief Jake Rhoades comes at the close of an internal investigation into hostile work environment, corruption and coercion within the department. His resignation is effective Monday.
by Diana Baldwin Modified: August 1, 2014 at 8:22 pm •  Published: August 1, 2014

Edmond Fire Chief Jake Rhoades has submitted his resignation from the city’s fire department, effective Monday.

The move comes at the close of an internal investigation into a hostile work environment, corruption and coercion within the department.

Turmoil surfaced in the Edmond Fire Department in late April when three firefighters filed formal complaints, sparking a two-month internal review by an outside investigator.

Rhoades was disciplined in late June, but was left on the job during and after the investigation.

An audiotape that firefighters said backed up their claims was later given to City Manager Larry Stevens, and Rhoades was put on administrative leave with pay on July 15.

“This resignation comes after months of anguish and frustration,” Rhoades said in a prepared statement emailed to The Oklahoman. “This resignation is a necessity for my health and best interests of my family.

“I have enjoyed the vast majority of my time in Edmond, but instituting change within this organization has proven to be a difficult and daunting task.”

Rhoades has been Edmond’s fire chief since November 2012. He made an annual salary of $124,603.

The city manager said his investigation was completed when he spoke with Rhoades twice this week before receiving the resignation on Thursday.

“It would be inappropriate for me to say anything else,” Stevens said.

“This is a personnel matter.”

The Oklahoman obtained copies of two of the three formal complaints. They included a claim that Rhoades said Battalion Chief Keith Randolph should threaten to kill Capt. Vince Pfeiffer, a 31-year member of the Edmond Fire Department.

Pfeiffer, who filed one of the complaints, said members of the fire department were encouraged on Friday when they learned Rhoades had resigned.

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by Diana Baldwin
Sr. Reporter
Diana Baldwin has been an Oklahoma journalist since 1976 and came to The Oklahoman in 1991. She covered the Oklahoma City bombing and covered the downfall of Oklahoma City police forensic chemist Joyce Gilchrist misidentifying evidence. She wrote...
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