McPherson fire chief not returning after being placed on leave
MCPHERSON, Kan. (KAKE) - The McPherson Fire Department will be getting some new leadership in 2024. TJ Wyssmann has been fire chief since the end of 2018, but his tenure will end come April 30, 2024.
Wyssmann will continue on paid administrative leave and will be receiving his benefits until his contract is up.
“He’s a very professionally qualified person, it’s just unfortunate that we have to do this,” said Thomas Brown, McPherson's mayor.
Two and a half months ago, an incident involving the fire chief and a policy violation occurred that needed investigating by the city. Wyssmann was placed on administrative leave at that time.
KAKE asked about the investigation and what led to the investigation, and the mayor clarified it was not criminal.
KAKE specifically asked, “Did it involve physical, sexual or verbal harassment?”
“I don’t think, I don’t think I can answer that,” said Brown.
The mayor says the investigation was conducted internally, without KBI involvement.
“Our policy is we had the investigation, we made an executive session decision, and we will allow this to go until the end of the contract, and in the meantime we will be searching for a new chief,” said Brown.
Now the city is looking for a replacement fire chief, one that is qualified to handle hazmat exposure, as all the McPherson firefighters are hazmat technicians as well.
“What I need in a chief is there’s a lot of paperwork, a lot of follow up type things after anything happens. Luckily, we don’t have much happening, but it’s always there. It can happen at any time,” said Brown.
The mayor would not say what the alleged policy violation was that sparked this investigation and change in chiefs.
KAKE reached out to McPherson City Commission for comment, but they had none. KAKE also reached out to the fire department, who directed all media to the mayor's office.