Vernon fire department's labour woes cost City $200K, so far - InfoNews

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Vernon fire department's labour woes cost City $200K, so far

Vernon Fire and rescue Services
April 15, 2019 - 6:00 PM

VERNON - The City of Vernon has spent nearly $200,000 to fix the problems within its fire department, but with those issues still simmering, it's set to spend even more cash.

A Freedom of Information request filed with the City shows $196,197 has been spent on independent reports and legal fees surrounding issues at Vernon Fire Rescue between 2015 and 2018. The figure doesn't include staff time spent working on the file or arbitration court costs.

According to the FOI request, the City spent over $100,000 trying to stop fire captain Brent Bond from returning to work after he appealed when he was fired in March 2018. It was a fight the City eventually lost, with the labour board ordering the City to re-hire Bond in March.

The fire captain made headlines in 2018 after a surveillance camera caught him and another employee in a "brief episode of consensual sexual activity" in his chief's office. They were both promptly fired but successfully fought their dismissal. The other employee's position had been contracted out and she was not rehired.

Prior to Bond being fired, the City had already spent over $92,000 on two independent reports looking into the department in 2015 and 2016, and the strained relationship between management and the union. An earlier Freedom of Information request to see the reports was refused by the City.

However, court documents reveal a fire department awash with dirty tricks, lies and deception.

The City announced it had appealed the labour board's decision April 4, and the ensuing legal battle is set to cost the City more money. After the City has thrown nearly $200,000 at the problem there are no indication relations between the union and management have improved.


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