Ryland Heights Firefighters dispute ends - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Ryland Heights Firefighters dispute ends

By Stefano DiPietrantonio – bio |email

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Members of Ryland Heights all-volunteer fire department had threatened to walk off the job Wednesday, unless something was done about what some were calling an absentee Chief.

Most of the Ryland Heights Fire Department asked the Board Of Trustees to have Chief Jim Crouch to either resign or face impeachment. Cool heads prevailed and the Chief, who has been a member of the squad since 1957, is still chief. And the firefighters are still on the job as well.

Thirteen of the 19 members of this all-volunteer squad charged Chief Crouch with neglect of duty March 10. They claim he'd been gone, away in Florida, most of this past winter.

The fire department also says it has a few beefs about the Board. Firefighters said the Board has not adopted a set of standard operating procedures that's required by the Kentucky State Fire Commission.

So Wednesday night, members of the squad got to get everything on their minds out in the open. Chief Crouch said resigning never crossed his mind.

"I was out of town, I was on personal business," Crouch said. "I had personal business I had to take care of so they felt I was not doing my job."

"He did leave two assistant chiefs in charge," Firefighter & EMT Stacey Rust said. "But, unfortunately they couldn't make decisions without talking to him first."

"We will hire a mediator to deal with this issue and solve all the problems presented to us to our satisfaction," said Pete Van Curen, Chairman of the Ryland Fire District Board Of Trustees.

Van Curen said they had a backup plan to keep people in their coverage safe, in the event anybody walked off the job. Chief Crouch said his fire department is like a family and like any families, there will be disagreements. They will get through this one, he said. 

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