Exclusive: RFD executive deputy chief suspended, city investigating complaint

June 20, 2018 06:13 PM

The second in command at the Rochester Fire Department is under suspension right now.

Executive Deputy Chief Tom Szatko is suspended with pay. The Fire Chief John Schreiber suspended him Tuesday. 

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The city is investigating a complaint filed against him. 

News10NBC is still trying to confirm why he was suspended. A source inside the fire department told us the details, but when we asked the executive deputy chief on the phone and the mayor's office, they would not answer that question. 

Szatko was promoted to second in command by the RFD chief and Mayor Lovely Warren two years ago.

James Smith, City Hall spokesman: "There has been a suspension in the command staff at the fire department." 

News10NBC Chief Investigative Reporter Berkeley Brean: "And when was he suspended?" 

Smith: "Yesterday afternoon." 

Brean: "Why was he suspended?" 

Smith: "Again, it's a personnel matter at this point so I'm not able to expand on it beyond that."

Wednesday, News10NBC called the executive deputy chief at his home. 

"Hi, is this Tom?" Chief Investigative Reporter Berkeley Brean asked when the call was answered. "Tom this is Berkeley Brean calling from News10NBC."

The person who answered the phone confirmed he is the executive deputy chief.

"I just want to let you know we're doing a story on your suspension that came down yesterday and I just want to know if you have a comment on that," we said to Deputy Chief Szatko. 
The Deputy Chief told News10NBC that he couldn't talk. 
"Do you want to say anything about why you were suspended?" asked Reporter Berkeley Brean. 

Deputy Chief Szatko told us to talk to James Smith. We told him we already did. 
Brean: "One of the top officials in the fire department gets suspended, what's the mayor's comment on that?"

James Smith, City Hall spokesman: "I think the mayor is obviously always concerned that city employees are always held to the highest possible standard. And that is her objective in her administration. But at the same time, I think this mayor is very quick to believe that people are to be afforded due process." 

The process is that there is an investigation by the city's Human Resource Department and the Rochester Fire Department.

James Smith did not say how long those investigations take but he told News10NBC that "once that investigation is over there may be other actions taken." 



Berkeley Brean

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