WESTFIELD, NY - Some questions are being raised in a small village in Chautauqua County, about why their fire chief and treasurer have been suspended from their jobs.
It turns out that the two Westfield officials are father and son and that this isn't the first time the department's been under criticism.
"With the suspensions it's only to take a timeout to investigate, they're not suspended from the fire department, it's only from their duties right now, so that we can make sure things are done right," said Debra Puckhaber, a commissioner on the Westfield Fire Board.
The Westfield fire department is 100 percent volunteer.
Village officials say in the beginning of October the records department there noticed problems with financial reimbursements that the fire chief was asking for from the village.
The fire chief is Stephen Pacanowski. And as chief, he can get reimbursements for extra work that he does for the village. According the Westfield fire board of commissioners, which oversees the fire department, the problem arose when Pacanowski failed to give receipts for the money he was asking to be reimbursed for.
The dollar amount is about $700 for doing various building inspections.
Packanowski has been suspended, along with his father James, who's the treasurer of the village.
"The chief oversees the treasurers reports, so anything that's submitted to the village is from the treasurer goes to the chief, the chief is supposed to review any receipts that come in, any requests, any requisitions needs to go through the chief first, that's pretty much why they're tied together is because we have this question," Puckhaber said.
2 On Your Side has been told, both father and son have been long-time leaders of the village. And the Westfield fire department has been criticized for having money issues in the past.
A state comptrollers audit last year showed the fire department had a lack of oversight and that it was unclear if money was being spent there wisely.
Village officials say that they're working with the Pacanowski's to provide the needed documentation.
The review board is looking at whether there may be other money issues. If the reimbursements are the only issue, village officials hope they can find the needed receipts and resolve the problem.
We reached out to the fire chief and treasurer for comment, but did not get a response.