Duran quits as fire chief; Served public for 20 years
FERRIS – Ferris Fire Chief Eddie Duran has been the subject of several open records requests the past two months by The Ellis County Press after concerns of local citizens were voiced on the conduct of the Ferris Volunteer Fire Department.
Shortly after the requests were processed, Duran turned in his letter of resignation to the city, effective Friday, Sept. 16.
In his letter, Duran states he has “accepted a position with a private sector company that will enable me to be professionally challenged.”
Professionally challenged, he has been. Records obtained from Duran show he has been claiming a status of an 501 (c) non-profit organization as the Ferris Volunteer Fire Department.
A 501(c) organization or “a 501(c)” is a tax-exempt, nonprofit corporation or association.
A search conducted on Wednesday, July 20 by The Ellis County Press on the Texas State Comptrollers website, as well as the Internal Revenue Service site, show the department Duran runs as not listed.
“The search [for the non-profit status] has been conducted here [at the city] and turned out to be inconclusive,” said City Manager Eric Strong.
“As soon as I found out, I offered him [Duran] help to officially register as a non-profit and he never came back for assistance.”
Attempts to reach Duran for comment have been unreturned.
Checks from the now closed Commercial State Bank Ferris Volunteer Fire Department account show checks written out for “cash” and various meals paid for at local restaurants with the funds.
Since the city contracted with CareFlite last year, the number of paid volunteers has been reduced from 16 to five.
CareFlite handles the city’s first responder and ambulance service.
Current paid volunteers include : Jeffrey T. Aaron, Alfredo Duran, Eddie Duran, Lance Merritt Wilkinson and Michael T. Griffith.
Duran was an “at will employee” with the city and had been working part time with the city since 1991 before being hired as fire chief on Nov. 15, 1995.