Derek Feuerstein, ASSD
City of Elyria
Elyria, OH – The City of Elyria announced today that the Office of the Mayor and Safety Service Director has completed its internal investigation into the allegations contained in the Elyria Fire Fighters Local IAFF 474 letter the Office of the Mayor and Safety Service Director received on December 16, 2020.
Background and Internal Investigation
On December 17, 2020, the City released an official statement announcing its receival and the commencement of a dedicated review and investigation to begin January 1, 2021.
On November 30, 2020, prior to the Letter detailing the Vote of No Confidence, interviews began surrounding complaints about the working environment in the Elyria Fire Department. A total of six (6) interviews transpired, and all information from said interviews was utilized during the investigation. Additionally, two (2) exit interviews with firefighters, one (1) meeting with the assistant fire chief, two (2) meetings with Local IAFF 747, and three (3) meetings with Elyria Fire Chief Carl Mack occurred in person to collect unique experiences, accounts, and information to support or deny allegations in the Letter.
The investigation, in total, included the aforementioned interviews, and detailed review of pertinent agreements, documents, correspondence, and/or department schedules as provided by both parties.
Summary of Findings and Next Steps
The Office of the Mayor and Safety Service Director diligently reviewed and investigated the allegations described in the Letter, which primarily centered around eight (8) unique allegations.
In summary, the Office of the Mayor and Safety Service Director, in collaboration with City labor counsel, have determined that no falsification and/or other unlawful actions have taken place, as alleged by the union in the Letter; however, the administration does acknowledge that there is a breakdown in effective working relationships between Chief Mack, his promoted officers and representatives of IAFF that needs to be addressed and remedied as soon as possible.
The following solutions have been determined to address the management-labor challenges that currently exist in the department:
First (1st), the City will host monthly meetings with Local IAFF 464 representatives, the department’s promoted officers and Chief Mack, mediated by Safety Service Director Brubaker and relevant staff, to address and improve management-labor relations, ensure ongoing and clear communication, and provide immediate feedback to challenges; and
Second (2nd), Chief Mack will participate in mandatory robust training and coaching focused on effective management skills and labor relations, mandatory for Elyria Fire Chief Carl Mack, and available to any other promoted officers who wish to attend
The City looks forward to working with those involved to improve departmental working relationships and ensure continuity in the good work that the Elyria Fire Department provides to city residents and the community as a whole.