In a meeting this morning with the Bucyrus City Officials, Bucyrus Fire Chief Jay Keller acknowledged receipt of a notice of a 10-day suspension from duty.
It should be noted that Jay is already on sick leave and that the time of his suspensions runs concurrent with the time on which he is on his sick leave.
In September, Chief Keller was invited to a negotiations meeting while still off active duty. As a result of the medications that he was prescribed in his recovery from serious back surgery, he was having difficulty with his short term memory. After speaking with his wife, he decided that he would carry a recorder, and record important conversations.
He brought the recorder to the meeting. He showed the recorded to another attendee.
Now, the City is disciplining him for recording the conversation.
The City is choosing to suspend Chief Keller after an investigation and hearing on the matter after which it concluded that he was guilty of malfeasance.
In thirty years on the fire department, Keller never once received any training on the attorney-client privilege and/or the duties of non-disclosure in collective bargaining negotiations. Nor has Keller received updated training on Ohio's broad Sunshine Laws.
Important to the people of Bucyrus, Keller is refusing to sign a Last Chance Agreement offered by the City. City officials are leveraging the Last Chance Agreement and opportunity to remain employed, and asking Chief Keller to waive his right to appeal any of the City's actions to the Civil Service Commission or any other entity with such oversight.
Chief Keller will not be held hostage and give up his right to appeal; nor will he allow the City to dodge the accountability of the Civil Service Commission, EEOC, and Ohio Civil Rights Commission in light of its actions and the manner in which he has been treated over the past several months.
Keller has served Bucyrus for nearly three decades and not until July, 2017 has there been a single complaint of malfeasance. Now, just a few months later, he faces termination.
Stone said of Keller: "He is a man that has dedicated his life to serving his community almost as long as I have been alive. A man wants to see what he has built and to see his legacy and commitment honored. The City's action have been nothing short of demeaning to a man who has done nothing but try to be the best fire chief he can for the people of Bucyrus."