Paint Creek meeting interrupted; OT costs established

By Gary Abernathy - [email protected]

The Paint Creek Joint EMS/Fire District board met Thursday morning to get updates on general labor issues, but the meeting ended early when attendees realized that the public had not been properly notified about the meeting, aside from signs posted on two doors in Greenfield.

The Times-Gazette learned about the meeting while it was in progress. A reporter who showed up at the meeting was told that the session was to discuss “general labor relations information.”

Board members said the meeting was not in regard to the recent issues involving Paint Creek Fire Chief Bradley George.

When asked why the media was not notified, board President Dan Mathews said, “Maybe the clerk didn’t understand.”

Under Ohio law, public boards are required to notify the media at least 24 hours in advance of any special meetings outside their normally scheduled sessions.

Later in the day, Mathews said, “I thought the clerk had done all those things. I guess he’s new to this, too.” He said it would not happen again.

Jon Salyer, Paint Creek human resources manager and public information officer, said later that while the meeting was about general labor issues, the board was about to enter into a discussion on final unpaid overtime figures when it realized that the meeting had not been properly publicized.

In early July, the Paint Creek board placed the fire chief on suspension while it investigated allegations made by firefighters about improper payment of overtime and equipment not being properly maintained, among other issues. The board voted last week against dismissing the chief, instead placing him on 30 days unpaid suspension.

Testimony during last week’s hearing on George revealed that unpaid overtime would likely be between $60,000 and $80,000. Salyer said Thursday that the final unpaid overtime figure was $77,900. He said nearly all firefighters, including both full and part-time, were impacted by the unpaid overtime.

Salyer said the board would take up the matter again at its regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday.

Reach Gary Abernathy at 937-393-3456 or on Twitter @abernathygary.

By Gary Abernathy

[email protected]