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Cleveland firefighters file lawsuit to have fire chief removed from office

Posted at 6:02 PM, Aug 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-22 18:50:53-04

CLEVELAND — A law firm representing 750 Cleveland firefighters filed a lawsuit against Cleveland’s Civil Service Commission and safety director demanding the removal of Cleveland Fire Chief Angelo Calvillo for violating the city’s charter by campaigning for Mayor Frank Jackson.

The lawsuit, filed by Diemert and Associates, alleges that the chief circulated nomination petitions for the mayor in 2017, which were a direct violation of the city’s charter.

According to the law firm, Cleveland’s charter states the penalty for such violations is immediate forfeiture of office and employment and a fine of up to $1,000, or imprisonment of up to six months, or both.

The lawsuit comes on the heels of a demand that Cleveland Firefighters Local 93 issued earlier this month to Cleveland’s law director. Legal counsel representing the firefighters said that since the law director failed to take action, “action is being brought on behalf of the city of Cleveland to force the Civil Service Commission and safety director to enforce the rules.”

During deposition in September 2018 involving a separate matter, Calvillo admitted to soliciting signatures for nominating petitions on behalf of the mayor. The suit states that Calvillo collected signatures on “at least five” nominating petitions. Of the 98 signatures he collected, one belonged to a current Cleveland firefighter.

Cleveland’s charter states that “an employee may not use his/her official authority or influence as a city of Cleveland employee for the purpose of interfering with or affecting the result of an election.”

Additionally, the firm said it plans to file a criminal complaint Friday in Cleveland Municipal Court.

RELATED: 750 firefighters seek removal of Cleveland's fire chief for violating city's charter