There is a case currently before the courts involving a regional district firefighter who is taking the RDOS to court in a wrongful dismissal claim.
Doug MacLeod, a Keremeos volunteer firefighter was fired “without cause” on March 25, 2011. MacLeod has never accepted the regional district’s decision in the matter, and his lawsuit with the RDOS continues.
It was surprising, then, to hear Regional District Chief Administrative Officer Bill Newell’s comment at a committee meeting of the regional district board on October 18.
During a discussion on regional district policy regarding emergency services response to calls out of their service area, Committee Chairman Gary Litke asked about the case.
“Wasn’t there an issue in Keremeos – in the Keremeos fire department – about operating out of their jurisdiction, and wasn’t there a personnel action taken as a result of that?” Litke asked – to which Keremeos Director Manfred Bauer clarified that it was ongoing.
“That’s ongoing?” Litke queried – to which CAO Newell then responded in the negative.
“It was settled – then how does that affect what we are doing here?” asked Litke, to which Newell explained, “It was settled with a termination.”
Perhaps the regional district’s CAO believes the matter is dead – but our information is that the case is before small claims court, so it is, indeed, ongoing – in fact, the two parties had a court appearance the day before the committee meeting.
It’s also surprising that the CAO would indicate that MacLeod’s dismissal was based on a response outside the fire department’s service area – as that currently is not the basis for their defence of MacLeod’s dismissal.
From our perspective, there is more to MacLeod’s case than a wrongful dismissal. It’s also about how respectfully the regional district treats its long time, “valuable” volunteers.
At any rate, it would appear that the matter of MacLeod’s termination is anything but settled – but it’s an issue that is now in the hands of the courts, not the regional district’s.