Why Fire Chief's Retirement Deal Fell Through
Photo: Video by kmtv.com
Omaha, NE - Mayor Jean Stothert sent a news release Tuesday afternoon explaining why the Memorandum of Understanding between the Mayor and Fire Chief was not signed on Friday. If signed, Fire Chief Mike McDonnell's retirement would have been official. (You can find the Memorandum of Understanding to the left of this article.)
According to the mayor's statement (which you can find to the left of this article), Mike McDonnell wanted this language in the agreement:
"Mayor Stothert agrees that her public statements on KMTV Channel 3 on August 29, 2013 regarding the paramedic training program were in no way directed at McDonnell or his performance as Fire Chief. The Mayor further acknowledges that the State of Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services has confirmed that the firefighters who are students currently in paramedic training program will be eligible to sit for the National Registry test upon completion of the Omaha Fire Department's paramedic training program. "
Mayor Stothert would not agree to that new language. She issued a statement, "Mr. McDonnell's demand is outside the scope of our agreement, and we believe inappropriate for inclusion.
KMTV Action 3 News conducted an investigation on August 29th that looked at a Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services' report that showed the Omaha Fire Department Training Agency received 7 fail grades out of 9 categories. Watch the investigation here. (You can find the HHS report to the left of this article.)
Fire Chief Mike McDonnell also wanted the city to pay for his school tuition expenses for 2012 and 2013. The mayor rejected that demand as well.
Mayor Jean Stothert responded to McDonnell, saying the deadline for their agreement expired at 4:30 P.M. on Friday and McDonnell refused to sign before then.
Mayor Stothert says when the contract became void at 4:30 on Friday her office sent McDonnell a letter telling him; the mayor's office is launching an investigation to his employment with the city of Omaha.
She says they're looking into a lot of different issues involving his employment, and it could include termination.
McDonnell is currently on paid administrative leave. Bernie Kanger is the interim fire chief.