Salem Lakes Fire Commission accepts resolution of disciplinary complaints against fire chief, marshal

The Salem Lakes Fire Commission accepted a formal resolution to the disciplinary complaints filed against fire Chief James Lejcar and Inspector/Marshall Steve Ptaszynski.

John Fuchs, an attorney retained to represent the commission on the disciplinary complaints, said at a commission meeting Monday that the agreement had the approval of all parties.

“I applaud the efforts of these parties … I mean it,” Fuchs said.

The commission voted unanimously to accept the agreement with all members present.

A copy of the agreement was not able to be released until all parties have signed it, Fuchs said Monday. (Note: We have requested a copy — DH). Consequently, details were not available as of this reporting. But in general terms, Fuchs said the agreement provides:

  • All parties will participate in resolving issues within the next 30 days.
  • The agreement will resolve disciplinary hearings that were adjourned earlier this month before being started and also scheduled for December.
  • The agreement is made “without prejudice,” meaning the complaints could be brought up again if there’s a problem.

Commission Vice President Allen Dunski asked the affected business owners in attendance — Chad Cantwell of Wilmot Stage Stop and Steve Dunn of Auto Truck Equipment — if they were satisfied with the agreement. Their attorney, J. Michael McTernan, said the businesses were willing to move on, but are nervous about the future.

“They are willing to move forward,” McTernan said. “There is a big knot in their stomach. They understand they have to follow the rules and they are fine with that. They just want to know what the rules are. They just want to resolve the matter and be in business”

Commission Secretary Shirley Boening expressed relief at the resolution.

“I’m so¬†glad we got here,” Boening said. “It seemed to be extraordinary¬†to go to hearings … “I’m so glad we don’t have to go through the hearings, the expense and I hope everyone is satisfied.”

Commission President Allen Thennes referred to the need for better performance on these kind of issues in the future.

“I know it’s not a 100 percent solution,” Thennes said.

Earlier this year, Stage Stop and ATE filed formal complaints against Lejcar and Ptaszynski arguing the officials abused their power regarding inspections of the two businesses.

Formal disciplinary hearings were set to take place Oct. 10-14. Those hearings were adjourned at the request of the businesses after a third party review of the situation became available. (Note: We originally requested a copy of that report Oct. 9 and have not yet received it or a explanation for the delay — DH).

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