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Akron, Ohio

Mayor Filling Vacancies in Fire Department

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City of Akron Press Release
From the desk of stephanie york
Published: 01-29-2015

      For the past 11 years, the Akron Fire Department has been unable to fill supervisory ranks due to the Plaintiffs’ unreasonable demands in the firefighter lawsuit, and Federal Judge Adam’s lack of understanding of the dire situation he has created in the Akron Fire Department.   

          In an effort to keep the Fire Department running properly and to maintain the high level of service Akron’s citizens have come to depend on, Mayor Plusquellic is making a provisional promotion of Akron’s only District Fire Chief, Dennis Stoneman, to Deputy Fire Chief.  Additionally, the Mayor’s idea to bring back a recently retired Akron Deputy Fire Chief to fill the second Deputy Fire Chief position has been accepted by Chief Hiltbrand.  Chief Hiltbrand has officially made that offer and is awaiting the personal decision of the former Deputy Chief.   

          District Fire Chief Stoneman’s promotion will become permanent as soon as the Federal Judge stops delaying decisions in this case.  The Mayor also made the return of the retired Deputy Chief conditioned on the fact that it will only be for the period until the Judge stops delaying and permanent promotions can be made.  To show his good faith, the Mayor has directed the Personnel Department to post the test for the Deputy Chief position as quickly as possible under Civil Service Rules.  However, if the Plaintiffs or the Union objects, the posting will be pulled.

          “There is no question that there is a massive void in the Akron Fire Department’s supervisory ranks because of the unreasonable demands of the Plaintiffs and the irrational delays by the Judge.  The retirement of Chief Ross has pushed the Fire Department’s already emaciated ranks to its limit,” said Mayor Don Plusquellic.  “I am only trying to fill those positions that have been historically filled, and that I am legally allowed to fill, so that the Department can function at the high level our citizens have come to expect.  It’s important to note that I could have gone completely outside the Akron Fire Department for both the Chief position and Deputy Chief positions.  But I recognize we have very competent people, just not enough have been allowed to be promoted. I know this may be an unusual solution, but I needed to once again propose something to try to resolve these issues.  It’s vitally important that the Judge realizes the horrible situation that he has created.  The Akron Fire Department will be down to only one District Chief and no Deputy Chiefs.  We need to go back to following the Charter by giving tests, and he needs to put his personal bias against the City aside.   What is so disturbing is that Judge Adams and the Plaintiffs have prevented the City from using the Charter required Civil Service test for promotions.  Instead, Judge Adams several years ago ordered the City to promote firefighters who did not pass a test over firefighters (white and black) who had passed the test.”

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For further information, contact:
stephanie york
communications director
Phone: 330-375-2345
E-mail: [email protected]

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