Firefighter files suit in federal court

The case of a Wapakoneta fire captain who was demoted to firefighter and later fired has gone to the next level.

Tom Stinebaugh, who was demoted in March, 2012, and fired that September, has filed a civil suit in federal court.

Stinebaugh was a fire captain at the beginning of 2012, but was demoted to firefighter in March of that year.

The city claimed that Stinebaugh, without authorization, spoke out to council members against the city’s decision to spend $476,000 to purchase a heavy rescue fire truck.

According to an arbitrator’s ruling, during an internal investigation on Jan. 10, 2012, Stinebaugh told Fire Chief Kendall Krites he was the person within the fire department who had addressed the purchase of a new heavy rescue fire truck with a councilor, having talked to the Council President Steve Henderson and only about general topics.

Additionally, on Feb. 22, 2012, Stinebaugh admitted having talked to 1st Ward Council Jim Neumeier prior to Jan. 10, according to a city document detailing a conversation during the internal investigation.
Stinebaugh was placed on paid administrative leave due to issues relating to his discussions with Neumeier and Krites’ investigation.

For a complete story, see the Saturday, Jan. 25, print edition of the Wapakoneta Daily News.