The former administrator of the Northern Arizona Consolidated Fire District has a lot to say in the resignation letter she submitted on June 5. Lynn Hucker complained of a hostile and shady work environment.
“I am no longer able, emotionally or physically, to tolerate the existing environment of intimidation, manipulation and dishonesty,” Hucker stated in a three page long exit letter. She took square aim at chairman Patti Lewis and fire district board members Victor Riccardi and Sue Wilkin.
“They have bullied and harassed me,” Hucker said. She said comments and actions by the trio clearly revealed that “the fix was in” for them to bring Wayne Eder back as fire chief.
Eder has been serving as interim chief since the trio voted to hire him on March 22. He is also an applicant for the chief’s position.
Hucker complained in her resignation letter that Eder demanded to be provided certain benefits and a district credit card and that she thought it improper given his interim status.
“I have documentation of many other incidents and circumstances that have added daily to my discomfort and stress over the behavior of the three board members and Mr. Eder,” Hucker said. “I intend to seek legal counsel.”
Hucker also spelled out her knowledge of an incident that has led to an ongoing criminal conflict of interest investigation involving Riccardi. The County Attorney’s office has been investigating an admission by Eder that he had the Riccardi-owned repair shop work on a district vehicle without any conflict declaration or approval by the rest of the board.
“Mr. Riccardi submitted charges of $1,357.57 for ‘repairs’ to a 1999 Ford F550 belonging to the District,” Hucker stated. “It does not appear that Mr. Riccardi was successful in doing anything other than changing an air filter. The truck was not fixed. It was eventually taken to the local Ford dealer.”
Hucker is the third key employee to leave the fire district since the election last November of Sue Wilkin put her in a majority position along with Lewis and Riccardi, while members Jim Bailey and Mike Collins became minority voices on the board. Former Chief Pat Moore resigned last November, followed by the January exit of contract attorney Charlotte Wells.