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Mad River fire chief suspended again

Leist has sued township officials over earlier suspension.

Trustees here unanimously placed the township’s fire chief on a paid two-week suspension Monday night to consider allegations that include gross neglect of duty.

Chief David Leist previously was suspended, then reinstated with back pay, after an earlier investigation. He then sued township officials.

A half-dozen charges against Leist in the new investigation, obtained Tuesday through a public records request by the Springfield News-Sun, allege that he failed to follow one section of the Ohio Administrative Code in 2012 and failed to follow several directives and orders by trustees since Dec. 3.

It also alleges the EMS department didn’t follow state code when it didn’t file changes in personnel with Ohio Board of Pharmacy within 30 days, according to the notice compiled by labor attorney Kelly Babcock. She was appointed several weeks ago by trustees to conduct the investigation into Leist’s conduct.

That section of code requires an EMS organization that stocks dangerous drugs to maintain a license and notify the board of personnel changes, Babcock wrote.

Leist’s alleged failure to comply with trustees’ directives include: not submitting specifically-required information in monthly reports in December, January and February; allowing at least one employee to continue to work without proper training and orientation; not placing department policy training completion certificates in personnel files; not taking at least four paid on-call shifts per month; and disregarding an order to have units responding to a call identify themselves to the dispatcher.

A call to Leist was not returned.

Leist has an active defamation lawsuit in Clark County Common Pleas Court against the fire department, the township and each trustee, stemming from the first investigation.

“We are very disappointed that the case has come to this, and we fully intend to proceed with the civil action that we have filed,” Leist’s attorney, Mark J. Bamberger, said Tuesday. He declined to comment further.

Leist was placed on paid administrative leave and suspended without pay several months ago after an informal investigation and pending a hearing. Leist was later reinstated with back pay because he hadn’t been formally charged, trustees said then.

A hearing regarding the charges will be held during the trustees’ regular meeting April 15, Trustees President Robert McClure Jr. said Monday night. He directed any questions to the Clark County Prosecutor’s Office.

Assistant Prosecutor Andrew Pickering said Tuesday he’s in the process of meeting with Babcock and witnesses connected to the most recent investigation before the hearing.

“My role is going to be to present the case to the township trustees, who are going to be the trier-of-fact, in this case,” Pickering said. He declined to comment further until the hearing.

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