Ronald Wayne Garzarek, Former Franklin Fire Chief, Sentenced to Supervised Probation in 2020 Criminal Case

Former Franklin Fire Chief Ronald “Rocky” Wayne Garzarek will avoid jail time stemming from a criminal case that happened during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In August of 2021, Garzarek was indicted by a Williamson County Grand Jury after Tennessee Comptroller investigators determined that he traveled 3,350 miles in his city-owned Chevrolet Tahoe between February 27th, 2020 and March 16th, 2020. However, investigators noted the fire chief did not use his city-issued gas card to pay for fuel.

A review of Garzarek’s calendar showed the former fire chief had no apparent business purpose for the excessive amount of mileage driven, according to the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office.

The City of Franklin’s policy states that a “take-home vehicle should be used primarily for commuting and city-related business.”

The investigation also revealed that Garzarek worked remotely out of state without authorization beginning in March 2020. Although Garzarek was available by phone and was present for video conference meetings, he had never received approval to work out of state.

“All government entities in Tennessee must provide oversight when they authorize staff to take home vehicles,” Comptroller Jason Mumpower said at the time. “This would include regular monitoring of mileage and having clear policies about the acceptable use of city-owned assets.”

Gazarek resigned from his position effective June 16th, 2020.

Gazarek’s original charge of official misconduct was reduced to a misdemeanor charge of unauthorized use of a vehicle as part of a plea deal in which he was sentenced to 11 months and 29 days of supervised probation. The plea deal also has Gazarek paying $1,574.50 in restitution to the City of Franklin, according to Franklin HomePage.

Garzarek’s plea deal is a judicial diversion plea, which means that he could be eligible to have his criminal record wiped of the charge following a successful probationary period, Franklin HomePage notes.

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Kaitlin Housler is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network.


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One Thought to “Ronald Wayne Garzarek, Former Franklin Fire Chief, Sentenced to Supervised Probation in 2020 Criminal Case”

  1. 83ragtop50

    Must be nice to have good political connections.