Firefighters union votes no confidence in London’s assistant deputy fire chief

Assistant Deputy Fire Chief Jack Burt speaks with a group of firefighters outside of Maple Ridge, a 45-unit supportive housing facility, in November 2017. Liny Lamberink/980 CFPL

The fallout from a tidal wave of harassment allegations within the City of London continues, with a high-ranking member of the London Fire Department drawing heat from the union.

Sources within the London Fire Department told 980 CFPL that assistant deputy fire chief Jack Burt lost a vote of no confidence during a London Professional Fire Fighters Association (LPFFA) meeting Tuesday night.

Sources said they planned to deliver a letter to city manager Martin Hayward, recommending Burt be let go.

READ MORE: London’s fire chief unexpectedly retires

Hayward declined to comment on the matter, pending the outcome of a planned discussion with the LPFFA president, Jason Timlick.

Neither Timlick nor Burt answered calls for comment.

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980 CFPL has also learned that problems don’t only involve management¬†and that a member of the LPFFA is being investigated for misconduct. That issue is long-term, according to the source.

Two days ago, a sudden announcement from the City of London said fire Chief John Kobarda was retiring from his position, effective immediately.

READ MORE: London firefighters union to set up working group in response to allegations of harassment in the workplace

Kobarda had been a member of the London Fire Department for 27 years and previously served as president of the LPFFA.

Lori Hamer has assumed the role of acting fire chief, while the process begins to recruit a new fire chief.

Harassment allegations began flowing into the London Abused Women’s Centre last week. Its executive director, Megan Walker, said they received more than 70 complaints by last Thursday morning, after city councillors went behind closed doors for more than two hours Monday. The meeting was followed by a statement from Hayward addressing harassment in the workplace.

Walker identified the London Fire Department as one of many areas of concern.

The LPFFA announced last week it was establishing a joint committee with labour organizations and management leadership, that’ll develop strategies to examine, review, and improve the support structure for its employees.


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