Grand Forks fire chief no longer employed after bullying allegation

The City would not say if the fire chief was fired or resigned from his position

Grand Forks Fire Chief Dale Heriot won’t be returning to work with the department, the city announced Thursday in a news release.

Heriot had been on paid administrative leave since May 10, after a volunteer firefighter alleged that bullied him following his bringing matters of safety to his attention earlier this year.

As recently as July 16, the city was working on a “return to work” plan for Heriot, but a spokesperson told Black Press Media that staff decided in the past week to nix that plan. The city declined to explain further, citing privacy concerns.

Last spring, an external human resources investigation found that the volunteer firefighters had suffering from “social isolation” after Heriot stopped scheduling him for shifts, in an attempt to “humiliate and intimidate” him, according to documents obtained by Black Press Media.

The volunteer firefighter, who had spoken to Black Press Media on condition of anonymity, had also make a report to WorksafeBC.

READ MORE: Grand Forks fire department under investigation for alleged bullying and harassment

READ MORE: Grand Forks fire chief on paid leave amid bullying, harassment allegations

According to the city, the consulting firm recommended that Heriot allow the volunteer to be notified of and respond to calls, but that he did not heed that advice.

Since the issue was brought to light in April, the fire department has updated its policy on callouts to “ensure that it can be applied consistently to all members,” a spokesperson said.

READ MORE: Grand Forks fire chief found to have bullied, harassed volunteer firefighter: report

Heriot joined the department more than 20 years ago as a volunteer.

Deputy Chief George Seigler, who has been in charge since Heriot went on leave in May, will continue in the position.

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