Seven Toledo firefighters each will be paid four hours of overtime after they were assigned to provide sprinkler activity for disadvantaged children attending a camp at the University of Toledo in 2003, according an arbitrator's decision on a grievance filed by the firefighters' union. The amount the firefighters will receive was not available.
Toledo Firefighters Local 92 filed a grievance on the June, 2003, assignment in which two lieutenants and five firefighters were to create a water curtain for 250 children in the National Youth Sports Program.
Firefighters have gone to the camp for five or six years to show the children how their equipment works and create a water curtain through which the children could run to cool off.
When then-interim union President Jim Martin learned of the assignment, he contacted Fire Chief Mike Bell and asked that it be canceled. The chief said he was permitted to make the assignment because it had been made in the past.
The union said the assignment was not among a firefighter's traditional work duties, and a section of the contract requires an outside activity to be canceled if the temperature is over 85 degrees. It also argued the fire administration did not give it notice of the assignment, and it wasn't aware the chief had made similar, previous assignments.
The arbitrator said the assignment was recorded in a station-house journal kept by union members, and word of it apparently didn't reach senior union officers. He granted the grievance because the city didn't give the union notice that the assignment was going to be made, and said the activity "does not qualify as a true public-relations event."