East Lake Fire Commission lays off deputy chief
EAST LAKE — The East Lake Fire Commission has laid off its deputy fire chief and plans mediation with its fire chief.
Chief Jeff Malzone and Deputy Chief Steve Rogers were put on paid leave last month while the Fire Commission looked for ways to cut costs.
Commissioners voted 4-0 at a special meeting Friday to eliminate an administrative position, which resulted in Rogers being permanently laid off. Commissioner David Root was absent.
Rogers, whose salary was $92,000 a year, had been with the department for 23 years.
"We will say 'lay off' instead of 'terminated' because it allows for the collection of unemployment," Commissioner Paul Ferreri said. That also will prevent the perception that there were "any performance issues with the action taken," Ferreri noted.
Rogers, who will receive about $24,000 in severance pay, questioned the decision: "There are other options out there we could explore. I didn't know if any other options had been looked at by the board or if this is the only option."
Meanwhile, East Lake's fire chief, who earns $106,000 a year, remains under contract.
There are now two administrative positions with the department, a fire chief and an assistant. Division Chief Tom Jamison is now serving as acting chief.
The Fire Commission agreed on a figure of $147,000 — plus accrued vacation and sick time — as a starting point for a settlement offer to end Malzone's contract through mediation. However, Malzone has set a figure of $951,220.86 to settle his contract