St. Tammany Fire Board takes action against Stephen Krentel

(WVUE) - Emotions ran high after the Board of Directors for the St. Tammany Fire District 12 announced it's findings against Stephen Krentel. Firefighter Tom Williamson accused Krentel of public intimidation, theft and of having an affair with a subordinate.

"You promised at the last board meeting that you would remove the stain that's been on this department for the past six months, but the stain is still here,"  Williamson said.

Out of all the allegations, the Board found two that warranted disciplinary action. It said Krentel engaged in sexual misconduct with two women who were both employees of the fire department at the time. The board also found Krentel improperly removed A/C units from the fire department.

"The affairs, I admitted to that when this happened. As far as the air conditioners, I did not document them being in the dumpster, but everything was legit," Krentel said.

Krentel received a 60-day suspension without pay and he'll have to reimburse the department $600 A/C units.

Many at the meeting were upset and said they believed Krentel should have been removed as Chief of Adminsitation.

"We know it's a pattern of not one but two women, and yet this man is still having a job in the fire department," Roy Burns said.

"The individual in question should have been removed, no ifs, ands, or buts," said Brian Comeaux.

"It's time to stop it, and you all had the opportunity to do it. I'm very disappointed in ya'll," Williamson said.

Chairman Steve Swanson defended the action of the board, calling it a process.

"There is a process to this clearly defined in statutory law. It has to go through certain hurdles. This is not like the outside world," Swanson said.

Before the meeting adjourned, the board voted to open up yet another investigation against Krentel.

"It is a surprise, but with all the energy behind this, I'm sure they're just trying to do their due diligence and move this forward," Krentel said.

Meanwhile, a police investigation continues into the homicide of Krentel's wife, Nanette, who was found shot to death in the couple's burned home last July.

"I definitely would like to see some of the energy that's been put behind this, put behind finding out who murdered my wife," says Krentel.

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