Prosecutors Decline to Charge Cleveland Fire Chief

Cleveland.com is reporting that Cleveland Fire Chief Angelo Calvillo will not face criminal charges stemming from his collecting of signatures for Mayor Frank Jackson’s re-election campaign.

Prosecutors were looking into whether Chief Calvillo violated a city charter provision that prohibits employees from engaging in political activities. The issue surfaced in a civil suit filed by Cleveland Firefighters IAFF Local 93 last August. The local asked the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas to remove Chief Calvillo. They also filed an affidavit with the Cleveland Municipal Court seeking criminal charges against the chief.

The prosecutorial decisionmaking was delayed due to conflicts of interest that required Cleveland Municipal Court’s judges to recuse themselves. Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor appointed a retired Perrysburg municipal judge, Judge S. Dwight Osterud, to handle the matter. Judge Osterud ordered the appointment of an outside prosecutor from a county not adjacent to Cuyahoga County to handle the prosecution.

It is reported that Frank H. Spryszak of the Lucas County Prosecutor’s Office informed Chief Calvillo’s attorney of the decision earlier today. More on the story.

Update: December 3, 2019: https://www.toledoblade.com/local/courts/2019/12/03/special-lucas-county-prosecutor-declines-prosecution-in-cleveland-fire-chief-case/stories/20191203129

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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