A law firm representing a battalion chief who was fired, along with the chief of Kalamazoo Township’s fire department, is speaking out through his legal counsel.
“First, we maintain that these terminations are inappropriate and without merit,” a statement from Herbert Machnik Law Firm reads.
The statement was sent on behalf of Matt Mulac, a township battalion chief who was terminated alongside former Fire Chief David J. Obreiter.
Related: Ex-fire chief ‘shocked and devastated’ by his termination, attorney says
The terminations happened Wednesday, Sept. 14, during a personnel meeting at the fire department, Township Manager Dexter Mitchell said.
Mitchell made the decision to terminate them, he said. The township manager declined to give a reason when asked.
The law firm’s news release sent on Mulac’s behalf contains the names of nine attorneys, including Benjamin J. Herbert, Jason N. Machnik and Frank J. Machnik.
“Our understanding and belief is that the terminations are a result of concerted activity and actions of two Township officials. We believe the terminations were completed without a factual foundation and in violation of the Township’s prescribed policies and procedures, and without full support and knowledge of the Township Board,” the news release states.
“We feel the termination decision was a serious misstep and abuse of their power which left the community at risk by removing those employed in the highest supervisory capacity of the fire station and by leaving those still employed at the fire station with an unexpected and heavy burden to bear,” the news release states.
The attorneys said they are gathering information and facts, and the release calls out Kalamazoo Township Trustee Ashley Glass by name.
“We were taken by surprise that Ashley Glass would divulge details of the investigation to the media as the Township has previously claimed those materials were privileged information and would not release them to our legal team in response to our FOIA requests or as a part of Mr. Mulac’s employee file,” the attorney statement reads. “As the situation progresses, we will continue to gather information and respond accordingly, with the hope that wrongdoing will be addressed and dealt with pursuant to the law and the Township’s prescribed policies and procedures.”
Glass shared information about the case with WWMT, the Kalamazoo news station reported, that Obreiter and Mulac were accused of mishandling harassment allegations brought to their attention.
Glass did not respond to a request for comment from MLive/Kalamazoo Gazette.
The fired township battalion chief is represented by counsel and the situation is still developing, limiting what can be communicated, according to the statement from his attorneys.
“Mulac was a dedicated Firefighter, Officer and Battalion Chief for Kalamazoo Township,” the law firm’s news release states. “His service began in 1997. He is proud of the work he was able to accomplish, and service given during those years. Especially the last decade serving the residents of Eastwood. He asks that the community continue to support the Fire, EMS, and Police personnel for Kalamazoo Township.”
Mitchell said he made the decision on the terminations and also to select the acting chief. Mitchell declined to comment further, and said previously that statements would possibly come out later from the township.
Revolution War patriots to be honored with historical marker in Kalamazoo
Decriminalizing psychedelics in Michigan is rally cry at Ann Arbor Entheofest