Kendall Co. Board Chairman Scott Gryder

Kendall Co. Board Chairman Scott Gryder. ( photo by James Wyman)

Kendall County Board Chairman Scott Gryder is clarifying that the board can't do much about the firing of a Bristol Kendall firefighter for insubordination.

The Bristol Kendall Fire Protection Board of Trustees voted last week to dismiss George Richter over what Fire Chief James Bateman called insubordination. Richter had refused to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and would not agree to weekly testing.

Chairman Gryder says he's been hearing from residents about it, but says the county board does not have authority over the Bristol Kendall Fire Protection District Board of Trustees.

Further, Gryder says the county board can't compel the board to do anything nor can it replace board members.

Gryder spoke about during Tuesday's Kendall County Board meeting.

In a statement provided to WSPY by George Richter, he said that he feels that mandatory testing for COVID-19 or vaccination amounts to an invasion of privacy and body autonomy.

Fire Chief Bateman says Richter refused on three occasions a lawful order and was therefore dismissed.

Many public employees in Illinois are now required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or submit to regular COVID-19 testing. There has been backlash, but officials say the mandates are accomplishing their goal of getting people vaccinated.

Bateman told WSPY news in an interview that the department is complying with COVID-19 rules in that staff are either vaccinated against COVID-19 or have agreed to be regularly tested.