Kingsville Fire Chief let go one week before returning from mental health leave
WINDSOR, ONT. -- Chuck Parsons tells CTV News he was “shocked” when he was “terminated without cause” by Kingsville CAO John Norton last week.
“PTSD is tough to wrap your head around. It’s difficult for me that my job was no longer there,” Parsons says.
Parsons tells CTV News he has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and has been off on a medical leave since September 2020.
He says it has been a difficult few months but with the help of his doctors and a therapist Parsons says he was looking forward to returning to work in mid-January.
“My whole drive was to come back. To get better. It’s therapeutic to come back, to regain that foothold.”
Parsons has 33 years’ experience as a firefighter, 20 of which as a Chief Officer, first in Leamington and more recently in Kingsville for nearly four years.
A news release from the town issued Wednesday thanked Parsons for his service, and “wished him well in his future endeavours.”
Kingsville CAO John Norton would not comment on Parson’s medical leave, citing privacy but said the town’s decision was unrelated.
“The decision the town has made to go in a new direction with the leadership of the fire department has nothing to do with his health, or the reasons he was off on a leave,” according to Norton.
Norton says the town has the right to change leadership and they are in the process of recruiting a new fire chief.
This past fall, an independent review of the Kingsville Fire Department was concluded, and Norton says it called for a change in leadership and “leadership style” within the fire department.
“I would deny any allegation that we’ve done anything inappropriate,” he says.
The town plans to make an announcement soon about the department’s future leadership.
Parsons meantime says he has consulted a lawyer and is working on his future options.