Any remaining personnel problems in the Sandusky Fire Department will be handled out of the public spotlight, city manager Matt Kline said.
Allegations of misconduct in the department surfaced after firefighter Todd Schoen was accused of threatening to shoot and kill fire Chief Mike Meinzer in November 2007. Schoen, 43, was placed on paid leave as Sandusky police investigated five allegations of misconduct against him.
Police Chief Kim Nuesse said it appeared some of the firefighters interviewed during the investigation had coordinated their stories. In addition, Kline said it appeared several of the firefighters tried to shift the investigator's attention from Schoen and onto Meinzer, accusing him of inappropriate conduct in public.
Following the investigation, Kline put Schoen on a 120-hour unpaid suspension, and required him to take alcohol/anger management courses, apologize to Meinzer and the other firefighters and sign a "Last Chance" agreement.
The firefighter who reported the threat, Lt. Harold Roane, submitted a typed report to officials detailing further misconduct at the department by other firefighters.
Tuesday Kline confirmed he read the Roane report but said that information would not go further publicly. Any further discipline or changes at the fire department will be handled internally, Kline said.
Kline said he will discuss his expectations for the department with Meinzer, but that information will not be shared. He also said there will be no public changes in policies or procedures.
"We're handling it privately," Kline said last week. "I'm managing my people my way."
Meinzer said he has talked with firefighters on all three shifts and reminded workers of the proper procedures to follow if an issue arises.
The three main points Meinzer said he reiterated were to be moral, ethical and nice when interacting with coworkers.
"I want this to be a fun place to work," he said. "I don't mind if they have fun, but to the level of at someone else's expense is not acceptable."
The chain of command for supervisors should be followed, Meinzer said.
"If they are not satisfied with the answer of an immediate supervisor, they need to take it to the next level," he said. "It should have been a better flow of communication."
In addition, performance counseling is ongoing, Meinzer said.
"I have been counseling some of those individuals Harold (Roane) indicated were acting out since last summer," he said.
Eventually there will be documentation in the personnel files of the involved firefighters pertaining to the whole investigation and the outcome, Meinzer said.
"There were some things that I noticed that reoccurred with certain employees," he said. "Those type of things will be documented."