WATCH LIVE: Snow causes traffic backups in parts of Summit County

Firefighters Disciplined for Urinating On Chief’s Picture

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Eight firefighters, including several high-ranking fire department officials, have been disciplined for defacing the fire chief’s picture.

The discipline ranges from demotions to suspensions, including six months off without pay for one lieutenant.

According to disciplinary records, the firefighters were disciplined following an investigation into an August 16 incident.

City records state that the city of Cleveland’s portrait of former Chief Daryl McGinnis was placed in a urinal at a Cleveland area bar during a post-graduation party for a class of fire recruits.

Several instructors admitted to urinating on the picture.

Through the city’s investigation, it was determined that Captain Roy Ziganti, second in command at the fire academy, took a cell phone picture of the portrait in the urinal, and had it forwarded to McGinnis.

“The facts of the investigation showed that ranking officers and training academy instructors abused their authority, participated in unprofessional conduct and conveyed to the graduating firefighters that such conduct was acceptable,” said Director of Public Safety Marty Flask. “The actions brought dishonor to the ranks of fire officers and most importantly, failed to provide our newest firefighters the leadership they deserve and all of us expect.”

An official with Local 93 of the International Association of Firefighters , however, said they believe the punishment was excessive. They would not say if they are planning to appeal.

The following is a list of those who were disciplined and what they received:

— Lt. William Lipke, 6 months unpaid suspension, agreed to remove his name for consideration on the up-coming Captain promotional exam. Is not permitted to participate as an instructor in the upcoming academy class. He waived his right to grieve the disciplinary action.
— Captain John Whalen, 15-day unpaid suspension, not permitted to participate as an instructor in the up-coming academy class. Waived his right to grieve the discipline.
— Captain Louis Hahn, 30-day unpaid suspension, not permitted to participate as an instructor in the up-coming academy class. Waived his right to grieve the discipline.
— Captain Roy Ziganti, demoted to firefighter, not permitted to participate as an instructor for the remainder of his career, and will be assigned to a fire suppression position at the discretion of the chief.
— Firefighters Mark Edwards, Robert DiSanto, Brian Webb, and Louis Ruggerio, all received 9 days unpaid suspension.

An additional fire officer was also found guilty of departmental charges and a hearing will be held when he returns to work from sick leave.

22 comments

  • Brandi Kinney

    Why did the one captain take a picture and forward it to the guy if he knew he would get in trouble? I don’t think he knew what was going on and happened to find it and was letting the guy know what happened, yet he was the only one that was demoted. He got the worst punishment. Everyone should have received the same punishment. 6 month suspension? That’s harsh too. These punishments should have thought out better.

    • westpark girl

      Really – think if you did that to your boss – what would happen to you – probably be fired……………at a school – expelled – the union had them covered – the one who did the worst – got the worst punishment – in the REAL world – without a union – they all would have been rightfully fired.

    • Ivan

      What a witch hunt…. None of this was done on city time or city property. Where is their First Amendment rights? It’s okay for somebody to dip a crucifix in urine, and burn the American flag, but God forbid somebody urinates on a picture of a guy that threatened to stab everybody else in the neck?

      • westpark girl

        sure you can do it – on your own time – no worries – but be prepared to accept the consequences for your actions….. right? Think about your boss – how would he take it – if he saw a picture of himself being urinated on – and knew it was you – there are reasons people are promoted to captain etc…… if you can’t live by the standards expected than don’t expect to hold that type of position. Or don’t be stupid enough to get caught…

    • Kristle

      This was definitely a stupid thing to do but I agree that these punishments are all over the place and much too harsh. Demoted and NEVER allowed to participate as an instructor for the rest of his career? Not necessary. I also don’t understand why some got 30 days unpaid while others got 9 days, 15 days and 6 months!!

  • Eyeofstorm

    The Chief of the Division of Fire threatens to stab any Firefighter in the throat that doesn’t follow his orders and he receives a verbal reprimand. These Firefighters receive suspensions for not reaching into a urinal to pull out a picture covered in God knows what after spending several months training new cadets to ” NEVER TOUCH ANY PATIENT OR FLUIDS WITHOUT RUBBER GLOVES ” What if one of these individuals had removed the picture from the urinal and contracted something, would the city have treated this as an exposure on the job? I don’t think so.

  • westpark girl

    The Cleveland Fire Department is way too corrupt – these guys got off with just a slap on the wrist…. it was disrespectful and wrong… imagine what their kids too if that is how they act….. ouch….

    • Ivan

      There is nothing corrupt in the Cleveland FD. The only corruption is the manufacturing of charges by the city against FF’s to “get even” with them for getting the residency law changed and for not rolling over and allowing the city to dictate how the merger of the FD and EMS is going to happen – the city wants EMS to take over the FD and run under them. EMS is one of the worst run departments in the city, with the highest turnover rate but Eckart, their former leader and now assistant safety director, is politically connected.

      The “trade” issue which is now in court has been going on since at least the 1940’s – with full city knowledge and approval, it actually SAVES the city money! This “urine gate” debacle is nothing more than an expression of peoples’ First Amendment Rights. Nothing was done on city time or city property.

      • westpark girl

        really – that is funny – do you know how many dads I have seen coaching games while WORKING as firefighters….. too many – or at school events while working and YES – thousands of hours over the past 25 years – it is pathetic – NOW it is going to catch up with them…. I choose to live in CLEVELAND… if they don’t like it move – not many have….How can you watch or coach a game on the west side when you are a firefighter and working on the east side — hmm my tax dollars hard at work… gotta love it….

      • Ivan

        Any dads that were coaching a sports event or that were at school events had somebody come in to work for them while they wee gone – that’s the policy! Furthermore, nobody would tolerate people leaving for something like that, it would put an extra work load on the guys that were left.

        Westpark girl, you sound like your some kind of disgruntled former girlfriend of a FF, is that why you are so anti FF? Is that why you make unproven assumptions and try to pass them off as facts?

        As fo working for the city and having to lie in the city, you do NOT have the right to dictate where somebody may live – that violates their freedom. You do NOT give up your freedoms to work for the city – or anybody else! If you have a problem with that, I suggest you move to a communist country, they think more along your lines.

    • Eyeofstorm

      I really hope you never need to call on these brave men. Unless you have a gun jammed in your face it’s the Fire Dept. that shows up and always makes things better. You really are pathetic.

      • Westpark girl

        Actually firefighters would not be sent out on a call regarding a gun in your face. That’s police. Trust me I know how calls are sent out. I do respect them. They are very brave yet there is corruption that needs cleaned up. You did not respond to how they could be on the clock and coaching or watching a game at the sane time. And yes one of the men disciplined in this story is guilty of this I’ve witnessed it.

      • Ivan

        Westpark girl, you’re wrong…. The FD goes to every shooting in the city and is first on the scene at probably 80% of them – before CPD or EMS.

        You claim you “witnessed” somebody being on the clock and at a game at the same time? How do you know that? How do you know he didn’t have somebody come in and work for him for a few hours? Face it, it;s impossible for you to know that!

  • Wow

    They’re firefighters; they do a dangerous job. However, this was way over the top reaction by those who decided to pursue discipline these guys. Was it nice? No On the flip side, like one poster has already said what did the chief get for telling those under his command that he would stab them in the throat if they didn’t follow orders? Lopsided much?

  • Westpark girl

    I’ve seen it. They are still being paid. I’ve heard it. I’ve heard the wives talk about it. No former ff boyfriend. It doesn’t matter where they live but they were all so unhappy why have so few moved.

  • Carlos

    why would the brown nosing idiot sen the chief the picture anyway and he got caught up in it as well and plus whats the big deal anyway they are on their own time having fun im sure the job they do is pretty stressful leave them alone

  • aaron

    I see we have a lot of non fire fighters commenting saying this was too harsh. I’m not sure if you know what a chain of command is but we follow a strict one. Not only did these idiots pee on a picture of their boss but they allowed their subordinates and fire acedemy recruits to do it also. It starts with something like that and it grows into them thinking they can do whatever they please. They should be lucky they still have jobs.

  • Katie

    FYI most of the officers involved who are receiving these rediculous punishments saw a picture on someone’s phone and failed to report it immediatly. Some of these men NEVER urinated on it and NEVER actually saw it in the bathroom. They get these harsh punishments but the chief of fire says he is going stab any firefighter that doesnt follow his orders in the throat and gets a verbal reprimand. That is pretty sickening. Must be pretty nice to have frinds in high places.

Comments are closed.