Mood improving in London's fire halls as union votes to reinstate confidence in deputy chief

There has been an "extreme tide change" in the mood in London's fire halls, two months after a new fire chief was hired, union president Jason Timlick tells CBC News.

A new fire chief was hired by the city in July after months of complaints about a culture of bullying

Acting Deputy Fire Chief Jack Burt (Paula Duhatschek/CBC)

In a stark turnaround just two months after they got a new boss, London firefighters now say they have confidence in an acting deputy chief once described as the "right hand man" of the previous fire chief. 

At a meeting Tuesday night, members of the London Professional Firefighters Association voted to restore confidence in deputy fire chief Jack Burt, CBC News has learned. 

In March, those same members voted that they had "no confidence" in Burt, largely because he was associated with then-fire chief John Kobarda. Kobarda retired as London's fire chief that same month amid complaints of a culture of workplace harassment, bullying and retaliation. 

Jason Timlick, president of the firefighters' union, said Wednesday night he couldn't talk about confidential union business. 

But he did say he was speaking to London city manager Martin Hayward about a motion that was discussed at the Tuesday meeting. 

Timlick also said there's been an "extreme tide change" in the culture at London's fire halls since Lori Hamer was hired as the new chief in July. 

"She's a people manager. She's a people manager, she's reached out to people, she visits them in the workplace and is actively listening to them," Timlick said. "It's made quite a difference in the fire department."