Firefighters in Weirton, West Virginia have filed suit against the city claiming the creation of a new public safety director is illegal and retaliation for the fire chief’s public statements about a staffing shortage.
Fire Chief Jerry Shumate, who is subject to civil service protection, told the city council the fire department is understaffed. That advice was rejected by the council who voted not to accept a SAFER grant for five additional firefighters. They also enacted an ordinance to create the public safety director’s position to whom the fire chief would report.
The law suit alleges the public safety directors’ position is an illegal attempt to circumvent Chief Shumate’s civil service position. They are seeking to enjoin the city’s efforts.