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Fire chief returns to duty following investigation


Trish Bennett, Editor

Chief Marc Zingarelli is pictured here from his swearing-in ceremony May 11. (Photo by Trish Bennett)

CIRCLEVILLE – The city’s fire chief is back on the job after an eight-week investigation cleared him of allegations of harassment, discrimination and retaliation by a department employee.

Chief Marc Zingarelli was removed from paid administrative leave at 10:30 a.m. Friday and spent his first hours since Father’s Day back in charge of the Circleville Fire Department, according to Mayor Don McIlroy.

“We took the complaint very, very seriously,” McIlroy said of the decision to place Zingarelli on leave June 21. “We met with the complainant, and an investigation was launched.”

In the end, McIlroy said the investigation, handled by a third-party investigative firm, found in Zingarelli’s favor.

“The results of the investigation did not substantiate disciplinary action against the chief,” McIlroy said.

The employee who filed the complaint, he said, also has been on paid administrative leave throughout the investigation but is set to return to work Monday.

The focus now, he said, is to help the fire department move forward after eight weeks of uncertainty and significant staffing issues due to retirements, medical leave and resignations.

Zingarelli said Friday his immediate objective is to evaluate where the department stands with its budget and staffing and get everyone back on the same page within the department.

Zingarelli is a 25-year veteran of the Circleville Fire Department who served as captain for about four years prior to being named acting chief upon the retirement of Tim Tener on Jan. 31. He was sworn in as the department’s official chief on May 11 and had held the position just six weeks when the mayor placed him on paid administrative leave in this incident.

This article originally appeared on The Pickaway News Journal