Two Mehlville fire-district employees suspended without pay

Two Mehlville Fire Protection District employees were suspended last week without pay pending the outcome of an investigation by the Board of Directors into “workplace intimidation and harassment.”

The Board of Directors voted unanimously in a May 8 closed session to suspend the two employees, according to board Chairman Aaron Hilmer. The names of the two employees are not being re-leased by the district because no final action has been taken by the board.

The Board of Directors voted unanimously in an April 22 closed session to suspend two employees with pay pending the outcome of the investigation. Regarding the April 22 vote, Mathew Hoffman, the fire district’s legal counsel, declined to release the names of the two employees, saying no final action has been taken by the board regarding the employees.

Based on Hoffman’s advice, Hilmer told the Call that he could not say whether the two employees suspended without pay last week are the same two employees who were suspended with pay April 22 or are two different employees.

The Board of Directors voted unanimously in an April 22 open session to adopt a resolution stating an investigation has been initiated “into personnel issues pertaining to workplace intimidation and harassment … Each and every employee of the Mehlville Fire Protection District shall comply with said investigation. If not, each employee may face discipline up to and including termination.”

Board members also voted unanimously April 22 to hire Metro Security to assist in the investigation at a cost of $75 per hour.

Bob Strinni, president of Local 1889 of the International Association of Fire Fighters, was unavailable for comment before the Call’s press time.

Of the investigation, Hilmer previously said, “This is the beginning of what could be an all-encompassing change of how business is done at the district. And while it’s early into it, it’s very possible to say a massive shakeup could be coming out of this. It will probably end up being an overhaul of all of our rules and more importantly with the enforcement of them …”