Judge sets schedule for briefs in Stahl case

Larry Limpf

Initial briefs in the case of a fire chief contesting a disciplinary measure against him are to be filed by March 16, according to a revised schedule approved by Judge Janet Burnside, who is hearing the case in Ottawa County Common Pleas Court.
Mark Stahl, a battalion chief with the Allen-Clay Joint Fire District, is appealing a decision by the district’s board of trustees, which imposed a 60-day unpaid suspension and one-year probation for him and set a requirement for Stahl to complete a leadership course.
Briefs were to be filed by Feb. 28 but John Coppeler, Stahl’s attorney, requested the additional time because he’s completing collective bargaining agreements with union workers employed by a township he represents.
The attorney for the fire district consented to the request and will have until April 15 to reply to the brief. Either party may then file requests for oral arguments by May 5.
The fire district board took action against Stahl and two others in the fire department after 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.
A disciplinary administrative hearing for chief Stahl found him not guilty of a misfeasance charge and guilty of a charge of misconduct in office.
The board said the evidence didn’t support a finding he “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.”
In addition to Frank and Stahl, Cara Orra, a paramedic, was also the subject of a review by the board. Frank and Orra agreed to unpaid suspensions and additional continuing education, according to a 274-page transcript of the disciplinary hearing filed with the court.


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