Thunder Bay

Dryden councillor calls for public meeting in firefighter dispute

A Dryden councillor is calling for a public meeting as the city's dispute with some of its volunteer firefighters continues.

Mary Trist's motion also calls on city to resume talks with firefighter association

A Dryden councillor is calling for a public meeting as the city's dispute with some of its volunteer firefighters continues. (www.dryden.ca)

A Dryden councillor is calling for a public meeting as the city's dispute with some of its volunteer firefighters continues.

Coun. Mary Trist is expected to table a motion at Monday's meeting of Dryden council. The motion is calling for a public meeting to "hear the concerns of all sides, and get the true facts/information out there."

The motion also calls on the city to immediately re-start talks with the Dryden firefighters association.

More than 30 of the city's volunteer firefighters walked off the job in late February, citing tensions with the department's chief, Ryan Murrell, as the reason. They're calling for the city to put Murrell on temporary leave while things cool down.

In a media release issued earlier this month, the city stated it "supports Fire Chief Ryan Murrell."

The firefighters association has said the issue stems from a search for alcohol in a club room in Fire Hall #1 that took place late last year. The firefighters participating in the walkout work out of that hall.

No alcohol was found, but firefighters were angered by the search of what was supposed to be a private room only used by firefighters. The association said that led to conflict with Murrell and the firing of three long-term firefighters.

The city gave the firefighters until noon on March 9 to sign a return-to-work form, or else their positions would be considered vacated. The majority didn't, and the firefighters have said the city has since locked them out of the hall.

The meeting is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.

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