UPDATE | Chaos reigns in city fire department closings

YOUNGSTOWN — Chaos seems to be in charge of city government as it turns out the fire chief didn’t close a West Side station today as planned.

There is a great deal of confusion as to how it didn't happen.

Councilwoman Lauren McNally, chairwoman of the finance committee, said she had a conversation after Wednesday night’s council meeting with Fire Chief Barry Finley about keeping Station No. 15 open and not shutting down other stations on a rotating basis to make up money needed for overtime costs.

But McNally said she never gave him a directive to keep the station open.

However, city Law Director Jeff Limbian said Finley — who couldn’t be reached to comment by The Vindicator today — told him that McNally said the finance committee gave him a directive to not close the stations.

Limbian wrote today in a letter to city council that it likely violated the state’s open meetings law by possibly having an “ad hoc meeting of some members of council, particularly the finance committee” after Wednesday night’s meeting.

“As I understand it, after an unfortunate diatribe on the floor of council against the administration in general and the fire department in particular about the temporary rotating closures of fire stations, there were discussions and decisions in violation of Ohio Sunshine Laws,” Limbian wrote in a letter today.

He added: “It has come to my attention that last night, after the regularly scheduled meeting of the finance committee and council meeting, there may have been discussions of finance committee members in violation of the Ohio Revised Code relative to additional funding of the fire department to avoid the temporary rotating closure of any of the fire stations. While the gesture, if it occurred, might have been well intended, such cannot be allowed to occur without condemnation.”

Councilwomen Anita Davis, D-6th, and Basia Adamczak, D-7th, who make up the finance committee with McNally, said they didn’t have any discussions after Wednesday’s council meeting about the fire situation, and that no illegal meeting took place.

For the complete story, read Friday’s Vindicator and Vindy.com

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