Arbitrator Finds DC Fire Chief Retaliated Against Firefighters Union Head

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, reports the Associated Press.

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.

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