Published: Sep 28, 2011 3:35 AM EDT

 

EAST NAPLES, Fla.- A new chief now leads the East Naples Fire District. Late Monday night Chief Keith Teague announced his resignation.

"The department right now the district has an early separation incentive offer on the table that expires September 30th. The incentive agreement is a yearly salary pay for a year" Teague said.

The chief's current salary $126,000 dollars a year with additional benefits thrown in.

This at a time when the district is facing a $3.2 million budget shortfall that may result in layoffs for other staff.

"On one hand they continue to spend money and provide one years worth of salary to these people who are taking buyouts and asking the financial burden to be carried by the men and women who are still carrying the service to the door," said Collier Professional Firefighters President Chris Tobin.

Teague is the second chief to resign from the department this year but he insists his departure has nothing to do with the district's financial situation.

"It's just a personal decision that after 33 years its time," he said.

He is one of several department veterans to take advantage of the incentive based buyout program.

Officials claim the program will actually save the district money in the long run versus those individuals deciding to continue working.

But district employees aren't buying it.

"I don't know how you declare a financial urgency but you continue to hand out hundreds of thousands of dollars to people who are leaving. It's mind blowing," Tobin continued.

Negotiations with the union over possibly layoffs and pay cuts because of the districts budget shortfall will continue Tuesday morning.