By: Jessica Shorten
MAGNOLIA, TX – The Ex-Fire Chief of the Magnolia Volunteer Fire Department pled guilty to Abuse of Official Capacity Wednesday afternoon just two days after charges were formally filed against him.
Gary Vincent led the Magnolia Volunteer Fire Department as Chief for 15 years before being placed on administrative leave on February 11, 2021 due to a public integrity investigation into the hiring of an “unqualified” employee for “personal reasons.”
“Gary Vincent abused his position of authority and allowed his selfish desires to effect his decision making and judgment. His selfishness caused a ripple effect in the department and ended up hurting so many good, hard working employees,” said Darla Faulkner. “Fortunately, the Magnolia Volunteer Fire Department is now under the leadership of Fire Chief Jeffrey Hevey and a new ESD 10 board, all of whom are making positive changes that will benefit the people they are entrusted to serve.”
According to court records, Vincent was fined $4,000 for Abuse of Official Capacity, a Class A Misdemeanor. Vincent will also be required to pay $3,000 in restitution to the Magnolia Volunteer Fire Department.
District Attorney Brett Ligon also commented, “Here we have a civil servant who had every chance to serve the citizens of this county with distinction, and to receive the appropriate appreciation for his service. Instead, his selfishness and lack of personal discipline destroyed whatever professional reputation he had once achieved, and he has dishonored his agency and disappointed everyone who knew him. With this plea, he formally accepts responsibility for abusing the public trust, betraying his co-workers, and ruining a once illustrious career. Actions have consequences.”
The investigation also resulted in the resignation of the entire ESD 10 board due to allegation of lack of oversight in allowing Vincent to circumvent policies and procedures to hire the employee.