City lawmakers question fire chief on purpose of demotions

Lloyd Ayers
Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers will retire next year.
File photo: Rikard Larma, Metro

In a public hearing yesterday, City councilmembers questioned Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers on his decision to rescind the promotions of five captains and nine lieutenants.

In July, the International Association of Firefighters and Paramedics Local 22 sued the city. In the suit, the union claimed the city purposely delayed filling open officer positions.

The union won the case, and the 14 firefighters were selected from an existing list of candidates and then promoted.

Shortly after, the city appealed the case claiming the commissioner should have the final say. The appeals court reversed the original decision in September, and the newly christened offers were stripped of their titles.

Ayers told the councilmembers that the 14 officers were made aware of the pending appeal and the possibility of losing their new titles.

Local 22 President Joseph Schulle testified at the hearing that the demotions have damaged the firefighter’s careers.

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