Ruling: Fire chief retaliated against union head

9:21 AM, Nov 1, 2012   |    comments
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WASHINGTON (AP) - An arbitrator has ruled that the District of Columbia fire chief retaliated against the head of the firefighters union by reassigning him as payback for speaking out on department issues.

In a ruling released Wednesday, Arbitrator Leonard Wagman found that Capt. Edward Smith should be reinstated to his prior position. Wagman wrote that Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe's actions were "evasive" and inconsistent.

Smith was transferred to another fire company in July 2011 after a series of protests from the union about policies, including whether the city had enough emergency vehicles.

D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson called the ruling "sobering." He says it suggests the fire chief needs to be more careful with her personnel actions.

The fire department did not immediately comment.

Smith says he is pleased with the decision.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

11/1/2012 10:00:05 AM (GMT -4:00)

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