Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

June 14, 2013

Firefighter fired in rare move

Mike James
The Independent

ASHLAND — The rare firing of an Ashland firefighter was precipitated by multiple infractions that amounted to a pattern of serious misbehavior, according to charges filed by Chief Scott Penick.

The charges against engineer Jeff Crews included misuse of sick leave, making Facebook comments critical of Penick, making spurious allegations in the department’s logbook, failing to obey superiors and giving false information on a shift trade, according to an outline of the charges filed with the city.

Penick filed the charges April 29.

Crews was fired Wednesday by city commissioners after they met in a four-hour closed session.

All four commissioners voted for the firing.

He is the first firefighter to be dismissed from the department in memory, according to department and city sources. International Association of Firefighters Local 706 president Carl Stambaugh said it was the first firing in his memory, and city manager Steve Corbitt said it was the first in his career.

Penick’s outline said Crews’ violations were fraudulent, malicious, inappropriate, insubordinate and amounted to “a pattern of dishonesty and serious behavior issues.”

The union represented Crews before and during the hearing but will not be involved if he appeals, Stambaugh said. “We stood by his side until now. Once he’s gone through these proceedings, the union is no longer affiliated with him.”

The firing leaves an already short-staffed department another man short, “critically low,” according to Stambaugh.

The city will hire replacements for Crews and two other firefighters, one of whom recently retired and the other whose retirement is impending, Corbitt said.

That process may take about three months and before it can begin the city needs to change one of its hiring procedures, he said.

The procedure, which sets a two-year period during which unhired candidates are placed on a waiting list, will be changed to make the period one year, he said.

Crews could not be reached for comment.

MIKE JAMES can be reached at mjames@dailyindependent.com or

(606) 326-2652.