CIRCLEVILLE - The chief of the Circleville Fire Department was placed on paid administrative leave June 21 after allegations of harassment and discrimination in the department.
Marc Zingarelli, who has served as acting chief since the retirement of Tim Tener Jan. 31, was sworn in May 11 to head the department after testing through the Civil Service process.
Zingarelli said he was unaware of the situation until the letter placing him on leave was delivered to his home by a Circleville Police officer on Father's Day.
"I have no idea what I'm accused of or what this is all about," Zingarelli said. "I have still not been contacted by anyone from the city except for that letter."
The letter, signed by Mayor Don McIlroy, states:
This office, along with the Director of Public Safety and the Circleville Police Department, is conducting an administrative investigation into allegations of unlawful harassment and discrimination in the Circleville Fire Department. You are to cooperate with this investigation and discuss it only with your legal representative.
Effective immediately, you are placed on Administrative Leave with Pay pending the outcome of this administrative investigation. You are not permitted at the Circleville Fire Department during this investigation, nor are you permitted to access city email or perform any function in your capacity as an employee of the City of Circleville.
Please make yourself available for questioning during normal business hours.
McIlroy said Saturday the investigation is not criminal in nature, but he was unable to provide any further details since the investigation is ongoing.
He said he is uncertain when the investigation will be completed, but he hopes for a quick resolution within the next couple of weeks.
In the meantime, Zingarelli said he felt compelled to hire an attorney.
Numerous calls to Tom Hamman, director of public safety, have not yet been returned.
David M. Crawford, city council president, said he knows very little about the situation except that the mayor informed him of the action on June 21, and he was told it was not a criminal investigation.
Crawford did confirm Monday, however, that no one has been appointed as acting chief in Zingarelli's absence. Those duties are being handled by the department's three captains, Arron Kerns, Brad Rankin and Kirk Edgington, during their shifts.