Posted on 15 October 2009.
By Judy Reed
A heated argument between two firefighters on the Solon Township fire department resulted in the suspension and resignation of one of them—Solon Supervisor Bob Ellick.
“I was wrong, I made an error in judgment,” said Ellick, a firefighter for 21 years.
According to witnesses, Ellick had a problem with the way another firefighter entered the scene of an accident on September 4, while driving a fire truck. He reportedly yelled at the firefighter at the scene, and the argument continued afterward during their critique of the call. Witnesses alleged that Ellick threatened the firefighter and called him names.
Fire Chief Joyce VanderMey suspended Ellick, and the other firefighter filed a complaint of threats with the Kent County Sheriff Department on September 10. According to Lt. Kevin Kelley, the case was dismissed. “It was just an argument. They swore at each other, but there was no crime, so we closed the case,” he said. Kelly went on to explain that sometimes an assault could occur without the battery. “If two people are arguing, and someone is red in the face, and they cock their arm back and say they are gonna punch you in the face, and the other person runs, that could be assault. But in this case, neither leaves, so it’s just an argument. There was no fear.”
VanderMey was told to direct all questions on the issue to the township’s lawyers, Mika, Meyers, Beckett and Jones. Lawyer Mark VanAllsburg said that while he’d like to be helpful, it was the township’s policy that they not comment on personnel matters.
But Ellick personally confirmed the argument, and he submitted his letter of resignation from the fire department at Tuesday evening’s township board meeting. The board accepted his resignation without comment.
“I apologize to the chief, to the board, to the residents of the township, and to the fire department,” Ellick told the Post.