Dave Knapp has resigned as executive director of the South Lorain County Ambulance District.
The decision came when Knapp accepted a position with another company, according to SLCAD board of trustees president Robert Holmes, who declined to comment on what company or position. A press release stated the position is in a “different industry.”
Knapp submitted his resignation letter May 24 and his last day of work at SLCAD was May 31. He had served as executive director since June of 2015.
Supervisors Fred Swanson and Amy Kiley will assume the former director’s responsibilities until a replacement is found.
“We’re holding on to the two supervisors and looking in to what we want to do,” said Holmes. “That could mean going outside the box or hiring from within. Dave got a better job offer, so why not? We are all excited for Dave and wish him the best.”
Dating back to 2013 and as recently as February, Knapp was the subject of multiple complaints from fellow SLCAD employees and other Wellington officials regarding harassment and misconduct, according to his personnel file.
A written warning from December 2013 said Knapp allowed an EMT to finish receiving a haircut instead of being on duty at the station.
In October 2016, Holmes sent a reprimand to Knapp outlining harassment complaints that had been discussed in a meeting with legal representation.
Those complaints included calling employees “fat and ugly,” saying a certain SLCAD employee would only be useful at an event if she took her clothes off, questioning why a TV personality was famous due to her being “flat chested,” saying a recently married SLCAD employee was tired at work due to “having wild monkey sex,” and staring at an employee at 4 a.m. in the station’s television area.
The same letter cited complaints of similar behavior toward patients, such as asking them whether they take “fun drugs,” making comments about the hair of a woman who had chemotherapy, and asking a severely injured male whether he’d ever had his clothes cut off by two women before.
Holmes ended the letter by saying, “As Executive Director, you are not only required to enforce SLCAD policies, but also to set the standard for professionalism for employees. This type of conduct cannot be tolerated by any employee. The fact these issues concern the Executive Director make them especially egregious.”
“Consider this to be a written reprimand,” he wrote. “It must be included in your personnel file. I trust that this will resolve these issues and there will be no further problems in the future. If there are, additional disciplinary action will be taken.”
On March 3, Knapp received a letter from Holmes in reference to an alleged Feb. 17 incident at Oberlin’s Mercy Allen Hospital. Witnesses, including Wellington fire district assistant chief Bill Brown, said when nurses asked a man with a head injury if he knew his name, Knapp joked, “I bet he couldn’t spell his name if he had to.”
The ensuing letter from Holmes stated, “You must immediately and permanently correct your behavior. You should expect that any further incidents will result in the initiation of proceedings to terminate your employment.”
A person who declined to provide their name but claiming to be a SLCAD employee called the Enterprise in March and provided similar accounts of the incidents.
On June 15, Holmes said Knapp’s departure was not related to the complaints.
During his time at SLCAD, Knapp also worked to teach public CPR classes, helped raise $15,000 to update life-saving equipment used by paramedics, spoke passionately about stemming the tide of heroin overdoses, talked to Wellington students about the dangers of impaired driving, and helped organize mock disaster training exercises at the Lorain County Fairgrounds. He also pushed for the new facility, completed last summer, for veterans and EMTs at the fair.
The ambulance district has provided emergency services since 1977 and covers Wellington village and township, Rochester village and township, Brighton Township, Penfield Township, and Huntington Township.
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.
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