Bay Village Mayor Suspends Firefighter for Speaking at Council Meeting

Bay Village, OH - Bay Village firefighter Ron Westmoreland is being disciplined for speaking at a Bay Village City Council meeting on September 15, 2008. Mr Westmoreland's comments laid partial blame on the city administration for the Labor day drowning of a 7-year-old boy.

The city reduced the minimum staffing from 6 to 5 in February of this year. The Bay Village underwater rescue unit was disbanded in June of this year. Two children have drown on beaches in Bay Village in separate incidents since those cuts.

Mr Westmoreland's comments pointed out that the minimum staffing cut made in February and the elimination of the underwater rescue unit significantly impacted the rescue outcome. Mayor Sutherland is suspending Westmoreland without pay for nearly 2 weeks for publicly highlighting the problem, which is certainly a matter that concerns the public.

The ability of citizens and public employees to speak about public safety matters openly and without fear of retaliation is distinctly American. There will be a gathering of concerned citizens and public employees at 350 Dover Center Road in Bay Village to protest Mayor Sutherland's attempt to squash free speech. The demonstration will be held from 5 RM. until 7:3ORM. The group will then proceed to council chambers to demand an explanation from city leaders.