Frontier Financial says its bank president was fired Monday due to "a dispute over the timing of a planned vacation."

Frontier Financial says its bank president was fired Monday due to “a dispute over the timing of a planned vacation” as the struggling company approached a crucial deadline.

The state’s fifth-largest bank, ordered by regulators to find more money or a white knight by April 15, didn’t terminate the son of its founder in a dispute over survival strategies or corporate vision, according to a regulatory filing Thursday.

Rather, John Dickson was fired over his spring-break plans.

“My termination followed your improper demand that I refrain from exercising my employment right to earned vacation time for a family vacation during my children’s Spring Break starting on March 31, 2010,” Dickson wrote in a letter to Frontier Bank Chairman and CEO Pat Fahey that was in the filing. “I had earlier given you timely notification of my vacation schedule.”

Dickson subsequently resigned as a director of the bank and the holding company.

Until December 2008, John Dickson was the top officer at both the bank and its holding company. As the bank’s condition deteriorated, he was replaced as CEO by Fahey at Frontier Financial and by director Mike Clementz at the bank.

Dickson remained at the bank in the president’s slot, in charge of day-to-day operations.