Toledo Fire Chief Luis Santiago
The Blade/Amy E. Voigt
Toledo City Council on Tuesday approved spending $25,000 for Bowling Green State University to write promotion exams for fire lieutenants and captains.
Council had delayed a vote on the request from the Bell administration after the leaders of Toledo Firefighters Local 92, the union representing rank-and-file firefighters, questioned why they had not been informed about the change.
Council voted 11-0 during a special meeting to approve the expense. Council President Paula Hicks-Hudson was not present.
The test was developed in previous years by a city employee who is now retired. Local 92 president Capt. Jeff Romstadt last week said the city had not informed the union about the change.
City Human Resources Director Ellen Grachek told council Tuesday the issue had been resolved.
It was the second time in recent weeks that friction between the Bell administration and Local 92 was aired at a council meeting. Last month, D. Michael Collins, councilman and mayoral candidate, criticized Deputy Mayor Steve Herwat for calling Toledo’s $5 million surplus small. He distributed two letters to councilmen, one of which was from Captain Romstadt to Mayor Mike Bell. It demanded the city negotiate with Local 92 regarding the surplus. The letter said Local 92 voluntarily made economic concessions during 2012 negotiations.
The second letter, dated July 1, was a response from Mr. Herwat to Captain Romstadt. It said bargaining pursuant to the clause was only for specific situations, to which “the existence of a possible small budget surplus” did not apply.
Also Tuesday, council reviewed spending $1.1 million from the city’s storm water utility improvement fund and accepting a $500,000 grant from the Ohio Emergency Management Agency to improve a South Toledo ditch.
Robin Whitney, Toledo’s public utilities commissioner of engineering services, said 75 homes would be taken out of a regulatory floodplain zone after the project.