CITIZEN'S COMPLAINT PROCEDURE AND FORM

MESSAGE FROM THE FIRE AND EMS CHIEF

The Western Lane Fire and EMS Authority is committed to creating and maintaining a safe, secure, and enjoyable environment for community members and visitors alike. We strive to provide fair, courteous, responsive, and effective service equally to all people while observing each individual’s dignity and worth.

Therefore, it is the policy of the Western Lane Fire and EMS Authority to accept and thoroughly investigate all complaints of alleged misconduct by any member of the department. The complaint process has two goals: To correct improper employee or volunteer conduct and to protect employees and volunteers from unwarranted criticism when their actions were lawful and justified.

The packet will provide you with the necessary information you will need to file a personnel complaint with the department. You can be assured that your complaint will be given our full and complete attention.

Should you have any questions about your complaint or the complaint process you are encouraged to contact our office at 541-997-3212.

Michael Schick
FIRE AND EMS CHIEF

The complaint form, which can be downloaded at the bottom of this page, should be used to file your complaint. You can attach as many additional pages as you need, along with any supporting evidence you might have. A copy of your complaint will either be given to you at the time you file the complaint or by mail. After you complete the complaint form, sign and mail it to the address below, or bring it directly to the our office.

MAIL COMPLAINT FORM TO:
Western Lane Fire and EMS Authority
2625 Hwy 101
Florence, Oregon 97439

SUMMARY OF COMPLAINT PROCESS

After your complaint has been filed, it is assigned to be investigated. All available witnesses will be contacted, and any physical or other relevant evidence including records, reports, recordings and computer data will be collected and reviewed. You will be personally contacted by the investigating supervisor for an interview.

The completed investigation report is sent to the accused employee’s supervisor for review and recommendation. The final disposition on the case will be made by the Fire and EMS Chief. When a complaint is sustained, the Chief will determine and administer appropriate corrective and/or disciplinary action up to, and including, termination.

Our policy requires the complaint investigation to be completed within one year of the Department becoming aware of it; however, the Fire and EMS Chief can modify this time frame depending on the complexity and sensitivity of the investigation or due to extenuating circumstances.

After the investigation has been completed and the Fire and EMS Chief has made a final decision on the case, you will be notified of the results by mail.

If the employee receives disciplinary action as a result of your complaint, they have a right to appeal. The appeal or process may include a hearing before the Board of Directors and you may be asked to appear before the Board as a witness.

CITIZEN’S COMPLAINT PROCEDURES

HOW DO I FILE A COMPLAINT?
We would prefer to talk with you about your complaint in person; however, complaints will be accepted by mail, telephone, or via email at info@wlfea.org . Concerns can often be addressed to the complaining party’s satisfaction without requiring a formal complaint. You can contact our office at 541-997-3212 to initiate or inquire about filing a complaint.

WHO CAN MAKE A COMPLAINT?
Anyone can file a complaint, if they truly and honestly believe an employee or volunteer has acted improperly.

WHO INVESTIGATES A CITIZEN’S COMPLAINT?
Complaints of alleged misconduct are typically investigated by the supervisor responsible for the employee or volunteer. Their investigation is reviewed by the Fire and EMS Chief.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THE EMPLOYEE or VOLUNTEER?
That will depend on the results of the investigation. If the employee or volunteer is found to be at fault, the complaint will be SUSTAINED and the appropriate corrective and/or disciplinary action will be taken. If they acted properly, they will be EXONERATED. If the facts show that the complaint is false, the complaint will be UNFOUNDED. In those cases where the department is unable to determine the validity of the complaint and cannot arrive at any other conclusions, the complaint will be NOT SUSTAINED. If the investigation concludes that the involved employee’s or volunteer’s conduct was not misconduct but rather an issue of department service procedure, the department may revise the applicable policy or procedure.

WHAT IF MY COMPLAINT INVOLVES CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR?
The Florence Police Department or Lane County Sheriffs Office may be consulted on any complaint that alleges criminal conduct on the part of any employee or volunteer. The proper law enforcement agency may conduct an independent criminal investigation while the internal investigation is pending.

WILL I BE TOLD OF THE RESULTS OF THE INVESTIGATION?
YES – At the conclusion of the investigation and review by the Fire and EMS Chief, you will be notified of the results by mail. Due to legal restriction, you will only be given the finding of the investigation of whether your complaint was SUSTAINED, UNFOUNDED, EXONERATED, NOT SUSTAINED, or is one of SERVICE OR PROCEDURE. The department is prohibited by law from revealing specific personnel actions taken against an employee.

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