Ottawa County: Reired judged assigned to hear fire chief's case

Larry Limpf

A retired Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court judge, Janet Burnside, has been assigned to hear a case in Ottawa County involving a local fire chief contesting a disciplinary measure against him.
Mark Stahl, a battalion chief with the Allen-Clay Joint Fire District, is appealing a decision by the district’s board of trustees. Stahl is also a commissioner in Ottawa County where Bruce Winters sits on the Common Pleas Court bench and has recused himself from the case.
Judge Burnside last week issued a schedule for the filing of briefs and other records in the case.
A disciplinary administrative hearing for chief Stahl was held Aug. 29 before the board of trustees of the ACJFD, which found him not guilty of a misfeasance charge and guilty of a charge of misconduct in office.
The board action stems from an August 2018 emergency run to a Williston residence where an intraosseous procedure was performed on an elderly man by an emergency medical technician who didn’t have the required certification for the procedure.
The board said the evidence didn’t support a finding Stahl “ordered or knowingly permitted EMT-Basic Justin Frank to perform an I/O medical procedure in violation of his EMT certification authority and district protocol.”
However, the board ruled Stahl was “guilty of misconduct in office by reason of nonfeasance, failing to administratively address the issue of …Frank performing an I/O procedure in violation of his….certification authority and district protocol when …Stahl knew or should have known of the occurrence …of Frank performing an I/O medical procedure…”
The decision also says Stahl failed to “properly report the violation.”
According to the board’s decision notice, all four board members, Scott Everhardt, chairman; Marilyn Opfer, Gaylord Sheldon and Darryl Bittner concurred in the Stahl decision.
The board imposed a 60-day unpaid suspension and one-year probation for him and set a requirement for Stahl to complete a leadership course by Dec. 31.
In addition to Frank and Stahl, Cara Orra, a paramedic, was also the subject of a review by the board.


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