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Rossford officials asked Fire Chief James Verbosky to resign, retire, or face termination after an investigation showed he sent text messages of a sexual nature to a female firefighter in January.
Chief Verbosky submitted a letter today stating he would retire effective March 31. His last day of service is March 14, said Rossford administrator Ed Ciecka.
Mr. Ciecka said a female firefighter hired in November reported to a supervisor improper text messages sent to her by the chief in January. The supervisor reported it to the city’s Mayor, legal department, and Mr. Ciecka.
An investigation concluded Chief Verbosky’s conduct was “inappropriate” but not illegal. City officials agreed to allow the chief to retire because of his long service and since “this was not seen by us to be of any type of threatening behavior,” Mr. Ciecka said.
Chief Verbosky, in a telephone interview, called the situation an “unfortunate incident” and said he “made a mistake.”
“It was just basically an unfortunate misunderstanding,” he said.
He joined the department in 1983 and became chief in 1998.
Mr. Ciecka said the chief was told soon after the incident that he would have to leave city employment, but officials agreed to give him time to make retirement arrangements. Mr. Ciecka asked the chief on Monday to submit a letter regarding his future with the department by Friday.
On Wednesday, a fax sent from the Rossford Fire Department alerted media outlets throughout northwest Ohio to the investigation. Mr. Ciecka said the someone went into the fire station after hours without authorization and used the city’s fax machine to send the release to news outlets. That incident is under investigation.
Chief Verbosky was suspended for five days last year after city officials said he falsified a patient transport report by signing the name of a firefighter on paperwork after a patient run.