KCK Fire Chief Met With Union While Awaiting COVID-19 Test Result

KANSAS CITY, Kan. —

The Kansas City, Kansas firefighters’ union says Fire Chief Michael Callahan met with them recently while he was waiting for a COVID-19 test result. The test came back positive, but the department didn’t tell the union.

There is more labor tension in the fire department. Callahan and the union are not getting along. The union president, J.J. Simma, said that he and other board members met with Callahan and other administrators on or about Dec. 10 for a grievance hearing.

“Conference table similar in size to this one, I think roughly about eight chairs,” Simma said.

The union said that on that day, Callahan was waiting for a COVID-19 test result. It came back positive.

The city said it follows guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local health department for workplace safety, including everybody having a mask on at the meeting and six feet of social distancing.

“No. No, we did not,” Simma said.

“Are you sure of that?” KMBC’s Micheal Mahoney asked Simma.

“I’m sure of that,” Simma said.

“Were you there?” Mahoney asked.

“I was there,” Simma said.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s frequently asked questions on the virus states that “any person who is being tested for COVID-19, because they’re suspected of having the disease, is required to be in isolation until the test results are received.”

The city said that Callahan did go into isolation after the positive test. The union said that everyone at that table should have been notified that Callahan tested positive for the virus.

“After that day, yeah, they were going back to the firehouse, not to mention, they’re going home to their families,” Simma said.

Simma said that no one caught the virus after meeting that day with the fire chief. The city said that more than a quarter of the fire department has gotten the virus since last March.

From www.kmbc.com