Ontario town’s fire service undergoing workplace review following resignations
By Phillip Blancher, The Morrisburg Leader
A workplace review is underway at the South Dundas Fire and Emergency Services in Morrisburg, Ont.
South Dundas Chief Administrative Officer Shannon Geraghty confirmed to The Leader that the review is taking place, conducted by retired labour and employment lawyer Alan Whyte. Preceding Geraghty’s confirmation, The Leader anonymously received copies of an Interoffice Memo from Mayor Jason Broad and Geraghty regarding the review.
The review is taking place at all three SDFES stations (Morrisburg, Iroquois, and Williamsburg).
Since 2020, there have been several resignations from the SDFES, many from the Williamsburg station. The department continues to struggle with many vacancies despite recent recruitment successes like its “Firefighter for the Day” event in 2021.
“The purpose is to restore trust in the workplace relationships and rebuild employee engagement to create a healthy and harmonious workplace,” Geraghty said. “This review has resulted due to feedback and comments heard throughout the departments, rather due to the absence of the Fire Chief who will be participating in this exercise moving into 2023.”
SDFES Fire Chief Cameron Morehouse has been on leave for the past three months.
The review began in the week of December 12, with Whyte interviewing SDFES members. The resulting report of the review will remain confidential and be reviewed by Geraghty and South Dundas Council.
Geraghty said the two will determine any next steps and how to implement new processes or procedures to address anywhere there are gaps or deficiencies.
“The report will be held in confident but based on some of the comments outlined in the report, may be shared in an open public forum if deemed appropriate.”
The CAO said the process is important to have everyone working together as the fire department is requesting funds in the 2023 budget to update South Dundas’ Fire Master Plan. The municipality has to complete a risk assessment report by 2025 as well.
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