Wisconsin Fire Chief Resigns Over Lack of Certification

A Wisconsin fire chief has opted to resign rather than take certification classes required by his department. Brian Schmitt, formerly the fire chief in Wilson, is required by town bylaws to take 112 hours of training to meet the minimum requirements.

Schmitt claims that with his family and work commitments, he is unable to attend the classes. He was hoping to be grandfathered or be allowed to obtain a letter of equivalency through the Wisconsin Technical College System. That option was nixed by the town’s fire department advisory committee.

While the town allowed officers up to two years to obtain the certification, Schmitt told the Sheboygan Press: “Enough is enough. They put me in a position where I couldn’t achieve what they want. Obviously, I could take the 112 hours of courses, but we know where I am with that. That’s not possible, so enough is enough.”

Four other firefighters resigned along with Schmitt. More on the story.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer’s Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

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