May 1, 2013 8:59 PM by Jacqui Heinrich,

Falcon fire chiefs placed on leave, reason remains undisclosed

The Falcon Fire Department is getting some heat after a 'personnel issue' prompted the Board of Directors to place three chiefs on paid administrative leave.

Tuesday the Falcon Fire District Board of Directors announced Fire Chief Trent Harwig and Battalion Chiefs Cory Galicia and Jeff Patersma were on leave pending an investigation, but nobody's saying why. The silence is causing concern for Falcon residents. "You know they have been talking in the past that there's things in this fire department that they don't like," one woman said. "This is very concerning, it makes you wonder what they've been up to, Falcon resident Andrew Montgomery told News 5.

That information hasn't been released. "I can't speak to any personnel issues at all," Greg Heule, Secretary of the Board of Directors for the Falcon Fire District said. Heule told News 5 he couldn't elaborate on the issue at hand or say whether it is related to a case from 2008 where the same three men were placed on administrative leave for alleged age discrimination. "That case has been closed, yes, it was back in 2008," Heule said.

Though Heule couldn't give many details on the issue, he did say this time around the Board is making sure things are handled right; they've hired an independent firm to conduct the investigation. "It reflects the Board's desire to make this investigation as clean and straightforward and independent as possible, conducted by an organization that does this as a job." Heule said.

Another reason the Board outsourced the investigation: to keep things moving at the station, now under some pressure having gone from six chiefs to just three. "Obviously this is very disruptive to the personnel and were very much aware of that," Heule told News 5.

Falcon Fire bosses say the Board isn't sure how long the investigation will take. In the meantime they've installed Glenn Levy as Interim Fire Chief and Division Chief Vern Chaplain is also taking on additional responsibilities.



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