North

Whitehorse fire chief fired after less than a year on the job

A city spokesperson says Fire Chief Michael Dine was 'released from his City of Whitehorse duties' on Friday afternoon.

Michael Dine started with the fire department last June; city won't say why he was fired

Micheal Dine took over as Whitehorse fire chief last June. A city spokesperson confirmed that he was fired last week. (Jackie McKay/CBC)

The City of Whitehorse says Fire Chief Mike Dine was "released from his City of Whitehorse duties" on Friday afternoon — less than a year after he was hired.

City spokesperson Myles Dolphin refused to provide any details about the decision, saying it was a human resources matter.

In an email to CBC News, Dolphin said Dine was let go before the end of a one-year probationary period.

Dine started with the Whitehorse fire department at the end of June 2018. Before that, he was with the Pender Island Fire Rescue in B.C. for 20 years.

The City of Whitehorse says Deputy Chief Chris Green will be acting fire chief, until Dine's replacement is hired.

Firefighters support chief

CBC News obtained a copy of a letter delivered to Whitehorse's mayor and council last Monday, before Dine was let go. In it, the Whitehorse Firefighters Association, the local union, expressed their support for their new chief.

Dine is not a member of the union.

The letter describes how Dine took over as chief after several years of tense relations between Whitehorse city management and firefighters.

"The state of relations within the department prior to Chief Dine's arrival was truly a toxic one," local president Barry Blisner wrote in the letter.

Things changed when Dine took over, Blisner says.

"When you come into either of the fire halls these days, members are truly happy to be coming to work with a work atmosphere and morale that reflect this," Blisner wrote.

He goes on to say Dine has "experience, education and training that cannot be equalled by anyone else in the fire service in the Yukon."

Barry Blisner, president of the local firefighters' union, wrote to Whitehorse city council last week saying Dine was well respected among firefighters, and had helped improve morale at the department. (Paul Tukker/CBC)

Dine's decisions were not always popular with firefighters, Blisner wrote, but firefighters came to respect how he came to those decisions. Blisner called it a "collaborative approach to managing." 

"Although in many instances he must make the final decision, he tries to gather input from others at all levels that form these decisions," he wrote.

"This is really all anyone can ask for from a leader in this position ... We feel Chief Dine is a man of integrity and substance, who came into a difficult work environment and truly turned it around."

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