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Reading Firefighters Want Chief Removed

After Less Than a Year On The Job

READING, PENNSYLVANIA, FIREFIGHTERS IAFF Local 1803  has passed a vote of no confidence in their new fire chief and are requesting his removal.  Last night (Monday) the Local's president, Mike Shoumlisky appeared before an executive session of the city council and presented their case including several documents purportedly showing that Chief David Hollinger has publicly belittled supervisors and lied on application forms for Federal grants.

Chief Hollinger  (WFMZ image)

WFMZ-TV, in reporting on the meeting, writes:

Shoumlisky said his members took a no confidence vote last week and everyone agreed their current fire chief David Hollinger is unfit. "He could have been a great chief, if he would have just listened to them," said Shoumlisky.

The firefighters have several complaints that Shoumlisky laid out for council. "They promised to look into any allegations that I brought up," said Shoumlisky.

Everything from belittling deputy chiefs to their concerns about what the chief wrote on an application to get $4 million in grant money from FEMA.

Shoumlisky's example of Hollinger's belittling happened during the Hill Road fire. "Instead of questioning him or commending him for looking out for the safety of his men," said Shoumlisky, "He just merely called him 'Chicken Little' for pulling firefighters out of collapsing building."

Their major concern is the FEMA application which he photocopied and gave to council. They've been given copies of the SAFER application with the documentation and the highlighting of the areas that were lied about," said Shoumlisky, "There's some items in there where he stretched the truth and there are some items in there that are flat out lies. I don't want to be part of this and I don't want our members to be part of this type of fraudulence of lying to the federal government to receive federal grant money."

Chief Hollinger has been on the job for less than a year, making this action by the firefighters very unusual.

WFMZ-TV filed this video report on last night's activity at the city council meeting:

 

Local 1803  WEBSITE.

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Comments - Add Yours

  • mr618

    If — and I emphasize, IF — it is proven the chief lied on a SAFER grant application, I don’t blame the members at all. That’s a pretty big violation… not some technical thing where the T’s aren’t dotted and the I’s aren’t crossed, it’s outright FRAUD. And I’d be willing to bet the nice folks at FEA are now doing their own investigation. If the Chief wants a visit to Club Fed, that’s fine, but the troops seem to be much smarter.

    • firegeezer

      Agreed.  And I applaud the Local pres. publicly saying that “we don’t want to be a part of this…”

  • Halligan00

    Wow. I guess they don’t have a fitness requirement in Reading.