PW names temporary emergency coordinator for fire chief on administrative leave

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Lambton’s emergency management coordinator is taking on some extra duties in the wake of the leave of one Plympton-Wyoming’s top administrators.

Jay van Klinken, who is Lambton’s Emergency Management Coordinator, will take over the same duties in Plympton-Wyoming temporarily, according to Mayor Gary Atkinson.

The town’s Director of Emergency Services and Fire Chief, Darryl Thompson, was placed on administrative leave in mid-February with no details being released as to why he had left his position.

Thompson is also the town’s emergency management coordinator. Under provincial law, the town must have someone filling that position. So Feb. 28, council passed a bylaw naming van Klinken to the position temporarily. He’ll also chair the emergency management committee for the time being.

Drainage and Engineering Coordinator, Elizabeth Cummings and Petrolia Fire Chief Jay Arns to serve as alternates.

Plympton-Wyoming Mayor Gary Atkinson has said little about the circumstances surrounding Thompson’s administrative leave. Sources say he will be off until at least the end of this month.

The two station fire chief in Wyoming and Camlachie are filling while Thompson is on leave, the mayor says.

Thompson’s administrative leave began at the same time as Chief Administrative Official, Carolyn Tripp, went off on sick leave. It’s not clear when she will return to work.

Atkinson says the town has not appointed an acting CAO in her absence. “Until you know, whatever happens, (town staff) they’re just in there, temporarily doing their own job like they would have been doing,” he tells The Independent.

The mayor did not want to comment on whether a human resources investigation is underway. Nor would he say when the town might release more information to the public about the two top administrators on leave.

Thompson came to Plympton-Wyoming in April 2021 from Caledon. He was hired after Steve Clemens resigned. Clemens left in October 2020 after controversies such as a video camera surveillance in the Wyoming station and the firing of three senior firefighters.

Tripp came to Plympton-Wyoming shortly after she parted ways with Midland in 2016 in what she termed as a “conflict with council” at that time.