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No change in Fire Chief's dismissal!

Council expected to review the issue again at their October 14 meeting

by Allen Gress, Herald Correspondent

Council met in special session Wed., Sept. 25 to review City Manager Tom Ault’s decision three weeks ago to dismiss former Fire Chief Kevin Lanzer. The on-the-spot late night firing Sept. 9 prompted an outcry of anger from city fire fighters and others who attended the Sept. 16 council meeting en mass.

Lanzer’s firing was prompted by a businessman’s complaints over a fire inspection and re-inspection for a leased industrial building located on Tulane Street. Ault gave no reasons for the firing explaining to The Herald that Lanzer was an at-will employee serving at his discretion therefore no just cause was required.

With the calling of the special session Wednesday to review the decision, Council appears to be in disagreement, and after an hour and 15-minute session, they adjourned with no comment and no change in Lanzer’s employment status with the city.

Lanzer and his attorney, Charles W. Oldfield from the law firm of Green, Hanes and Sgambati, were invited to attend the meeting and spent about 30 minutes téte-á-téte with Council. Afterwards Lanzer and Oldfield left Constitution Center without comment, leaving Council behind closed doors for another half hour or so.

According to the Youngstown firm’s website, their lawyers specialize in personal injury, medical malpractice and employment discrimination and harassment.

The complaint of the building owner was not the 16 code violations, but rather the department’s unannounced inspections, the fact that the owner did not receive a copy of the violations, and the overall attitude of the chief.

When asked, Ault said the matter was not final and he expected another executive session at Council’s next meeting scheduled for Oct. 14. Council cancelled a work session originally planned for Monday, Sept. 30.

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