YFD union holding no-confidence vote against Chief Barry Finley
In what Union President Charlie Smith calls an unprecedented move, the Youngstown Firefighters Union is holding a no-confidence vote against Fire Chief Barry Finley.
"It's a big step, it's nothing that came lightly. It's nothing that said let's go do this because it's going to be fun," said Smith.
Tuesday and Wednesday nights, firefighters will vote on whether they have confidence in their chief. Smith says it all boils down to issues they have been having over the past year with the department and direction that it is going in.
"Lots of safety issues have not been addressed or have been overlooked that we need taken care of and it was very important for us to get out to the public to let them know what is going on," said Smith.
Smith cites issues with the radio system, the closing of fire station number seven and the reduction in battalion chiefs. Arbitration will begin on December 10th over the radio issue.
Smith also says there have been other issues with Chief Finley that has led firefighters to say they are being subjected to a hostile work environment.
"There has been different incidents that have happened since he's been Fire Chief that definitely constitute hostile work environment, the bullying, intimidation, stuff along those lines," said Smith.
Smith says they plan to take that to the city administration to call for an investigation.
It's important to note that even if the firefighters union votes no-confidence against Chief Finley, it doesn't really have a consequence. Mayor Tito Brown is the only one who has the authority to remove Finley and he told 21 News on Monday that this vote means nothing to him.
"That's kind of disheartening. He also said it was a personal issue. I do agree with him, this is very personal with me. The safety of our firefighters and citizens is a personal issue with me," said Smith.
Chief Finley did not respond to 21 News request for comment.