Federal court to hear firefighter suit

A Settlement Conference that had been set for 1:30 p.m. Friday in the case of former Wapakoneta Fire Captain Tom Stinebaugh versus the City of Wapakoneta in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District Ohio Western Division has been cancelled.

A Settlement Conference is an opportunity for all parties to come to an agreement on a contested issue.
As such, lead counsel and parties, or a representative with full authority to negotiate and settle, were to appear in person before the court. All parties were also ordered to prepare a letter describing their settlement positions.

Instead, there will be a conference call on March 11 between the attorneys and the court.

Stinebaugh is suing the city, Director of Public Service and Safety William Rains and Fire Chief Kendall Krites over his demotion and subsequent termination from the fire department.

Stinebaugh was first put on administrative leave in early January of 2012, demoted to firefighter in March and terminated in September.

According to previously published reports, Stinebaugh was placed on paid administrative leave due to issues related to his discussions with First-Ward Councilman Jim Neumeier over the city’s decision to spend $476,000 to purchase a heavy rescue fire truck and Krites’ investigation into that matter.

According to a copy of the City of Wapakoneta Personnel Policy and Procedure Manual provided by Stienbaugh, “a person may be placed on administrative leave, but only in circumstances where the health or safety of an employee or of any person or property entrusted to the employee’s care could be adversely affected.”

For the full story, see the Thursday, March 6 edition of the Wapakoneta Daily News.