Local 93′s plan to oust Cleveland fire chief fizzles after special prosecutor files no criminal charges

Local 93′s plan to oust Cleveland fire chief fizzles after special prosecutor files no charges

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - A special prosecutor has ruled that Cleveland Fire Chief Angelo Calvillo did nothing criminal when he circulated nominating petitions for Mayor Frank Jackson.

The city charter says it is a violation punishable by a fine or termination. Left on the table is a second element of the case--the civil complaint.

Put simply, the rank-and-file of the Cleveland Fire Union doesn’t think Calvillo has their backs. They’ve cited equipment, manpower and a host of other things that they don’t feel the chief pushes hard enough for at Cleveland City Hall.

Their displeasure began with a no confidence vote, and then went to court.

The union pointed to bubbling sewage in the headquarters basement, water running down walls and several other issues regarding living conditions. Those complaints, along with safety concerns, moved Local 93 to action. The no confident vote passed by a large margin.

“I can no longer stand by and allow my members lives to be put at risk because [Calvillo] doesn’t know how to do his job,” is how Union President Fran Lally characterized the reason for the suit.

When nothing happened to satisfy the firefighters they got Attorney Joe Diemert involved.

“The charter says that violation of these rules is also a crime. It’s a misdemeanor first degree punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 or 6 months in jail,” Diemert told 19 News.

His complaint was filed in August and a visiting judge was assigned. The judge appointed Special Prosecutor Frank Spryszak of Lucas County. He has now ruled that the chief’s actions do not violate the city charter criminally.

That is a ruling which puzzles Diemert. He points out that an order from the judge who appointed prosecutor Spryszak said the case “shall proceed to prosecution.”

As things stand, this is a victory for the city of Cleveland.

Diemert says he is considering what legal remedy he might pursue as this setback seems to have done nothing to ease the contentious relationship between the chief and the rank-and-file.

A civil filing in Common Pleas Court against Chief Calvillo is to be briefed in January.

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