City of Dryden tells volunteer firefighters: sign 'return to work' form or be fired

City of Dryden tells volunteer firefighters: sign 'return to work' form or be fired
CBC News
Link to article: City of Dryden tells volunteer firefighters: sign 'return to work' form or be fired

The City of Dryden is threatening to fire some of its volunteer firefighters unless they sign an "intent to return to work" form by noon Friday, according to a letter sent by the city to some of the firefighters.

The letter — which was obtained by CBC News and is attributed to Dryden chief administrative officer Ernie Remillard — is directed at volunteer firefighters who work out of Fire Hall #1. Those firefighters withdrew their services in late February. According to media releases issued by the city, the service withdrawal was due to unspecified human resources issues.

A source — who the CBC has agreed not to identify because of risk to his current position and other possible employment within Dryden —  said the issue stems from the recent firing of three volunteer firefighters.

The source said the firings have led to tensions between remaining firefighters and Dryden Fire Chief Ryan Murrell.

The Dryden firefighters association also, according to our source, asked the city to place Murrell on temporary leave; but did not call for his removal. The city refused, and sent the letter out to Fire Hall #1 firefighters on Tuesday.

The letter states that firefighters from the hall have not responded to any calls since Feb. 22, nor attended any training since Janaury 10, 2018.

Services withdrawn
The letter goes on to state the city has a "responsibility to maintain public safety".  Earlier releases from the city state Dryden has maintained its fire service coverage during the walk-out thanks to support from the nearby Oxdrift and Wabigoon volunteer fire departments.

The Dryden fire service is made up of a mix of volunteer and professional firefighters, and earlier this week, the city announced it's hiring four new professional firefighters on a short-term contract basis.

Friday deadline
All volunteer firefighters from Fire Hall #1 are now required to sign a return-to-work confirmation, and submit it to the city by March 9.

"If we have not received your confirmation by that time, we will conclude that your employment as a Volunteer Firefighter with the City of Dryden has been abandoned," Remillard's letter states.

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