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Volunteers back

Volunteer firefighters began manning their stations again Wednesday night after a five-day hiatus caused by a problem with the workman’s compensation insurance that covers the volunteers.

Driver Volunteer Fire Department began staffing their station at 5 p.m. Wednesday, city spokeswoman Debbie George reported, with volunteers in Holland, Whaleyville and Chuckatuck returning at 8 p.m.

George said in an email Wednesday the policy was canceled because of a compliance issue.

“The city was found to be non-compliant after a former employee neglected to provide information and complete a routine audit,” George said.

She did not say why the person is no longer employed with the city, or specifically what information was not provided.

In a press release, George said the transition back to volunteer staffing was coordinated in a Wednesday meeting among the city manager, city staff and volunteer leadership. A new workman’s compensation policy became effective Wednesday.

“Staff also shared with the leaders some of the actions that were put in place to safeguard against repeat occurrences, including the city employee who previously had workman’s compensation oversight is no longer employed by the city,” George wrote in the press release.

It was not immediately clear how much money the error cost the city in overtime for paid firefighters.

Volunteer chiefs were notified about noon on Friday that their departments could not respond to any calls until the problem was corrected. City Manager Selena Cuffee-Glenn attributed the return of volunteer service to cooperation between the volunteers and city staff.

“We appreciate the patience and understanding of the volunteer chiefs and their organizations during this process,” Cuffee-Glenn said in the press release.