Former chief files appeal of board's firing him

An attorney says the decision to remove the fire chief from office is an 'abuse of discretion.'
WARREN -- A former Braceville Township fire chief wants his job back. Raymond Dietz, of Braceville Robinson Road S.W., is appealing the Braceville Township trustees' decision to fire him. Dietz filed the appeal Thursday in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court.
The trustees fired Dietz, who was fire chief for 19 years, April 23. Dietz could not be reached to comment.
Atty. Gilbert W.R. Rucker III, who represents Dietz, said the trustees' decision to remove Dietz from office is an "abuse of discretion."
He said the township has failed to "provide specific details of the basis of the charges."
Trustees could not be reached to comment. But when they fired Dietz, they released a three-page decision that Rucker attached to the appeal.
That decision states that the trustees found the chief failed to conduct regular inspections of fire hoses, pumps and apparatus as required by law, failed to properly schedule, provide and conduct in-service training, failed to properly service, maintain and repair vehicles, and has endangered himself, other firefighters, and his daughter by bringing his daughter to emergency scenes.
The trustees' decision came a few days after an administrative hearing was held. Trustees stated in the decision that Dietz attended the April 16 hearing but was not represented by legal counsel.
Investigation: The administrative hearing was held following a five-month investigation by Atty. Stanley Elkins. Trustees noted in their decision that they had hired Elkins to investigate Dietz.
Elkins is an assistant Trumbull County prosecutor, however he was an assistant city prosecutor when he was hired in October by trustees.
No criminal charges have been filed against Dietz.
The appeal has been assigned to Judge Andrew Logan. A hearing date has not been set.

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