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Discipline in Fort Wayne Fire Department causing tension between administration, firefighters

The Fort Wane Professional Firefighters said they have a problem with the discipline policies in the department.

Posted: Sep 10, 2019 11:14 PM
Updated: Sep 11, 2019 2:15 PM

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) - Tension between the Fort Wayne firefighters and its administration is growing.

The Fort Wane Professional Firefighters said they have a problem with the discipline policies in the department.

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"Firefighters are really frustrated about some of the processes going on within our department." said Jeremy Bush, Fort Wayne Professional Firefighters president.

Bush said it comes down to a breakdown in communication.

"Our hopes are these communication lines are opened back up and we all do what's in the best interest of our firefighters and the public we serve."

Part of that interest includes holding everyone in the department accountable for their actions.

"All that we are advocating for is our firefighters from the top down are held to the same standard. The processes are fair and we do the right thing in an open and fair process. So the citizens of Fort Wayne can have confidence in the Fort Wayne Fire Department," Bush said.

That's why the union filed a formal complaint to the merit board against assistant chief Todd Prindle Tuesday.

Union leaders claim Prindle falsified certification documents for a firefighter, then asked that firefighter to lie about it.

"We looked into and found evidence there was an issue and presented it to the merit board," Bush said.

Bush said to be successful, everyone needs to be on the same page.

He adds the merit board was expected to re-instate a new firefighter who was fired during its last meeting.

"It was communicated to us by the merit board's attorney would be overturning the decision that was made last week," said Bush.

However, the merit board decided Tuesday to stand by the decision because a majority of the members present voted to fire Andrew Goodwin.

Bush said Goodwin was fired because he hadn't passed the advanced EMT test in two tries.

The state and federal guidelines gives people six chances to pass the test.

"He had a little misstep in some tests that he took but we believe he should've had the opportunity to take those tests again," Bush said.

Fire Chief Eric Lahey said he doesn't comment on discipline issues in the fire department.

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