The Fenton Township Board of Trustees voted unanimously Monday to suspend Fire Chief Ryan Volz without pay until October 1st following allegations he not only failed to stop the sexual harassment of a female firefighter, but also participated.

That action followed a nine-hour closed session of the township board to discuss the ongoing issue, which is the subject of a lawsuit filed by Firefighter Kristy Polidan and Captain Kirk Stephens, alleging Polidan has been subjected to sexual harassment since she was hired in January 2015 and that Captain Stephens was retaliated against for supporting her. The board called five witnesses, all firefighters, before making the decision to extend Chief Volz’s suspension. Township Supervisor Bonnie Mathis abstained from the discussion and vote as Volz is her son-in-law.

Volz, who had been under paid suspension since July 9th, will now have to forfeit 35 days of paid time off, transition to an employment at will contract, complete a sexual harassment training session, participate in township-wide diversity sensitivity training and agree to complete a bachelor’s in business administration by Dec. 1, 2021. Volz maintains his innocence and asserts he has been falsely accused. After Monday’s decision was announced, the Tri-County Times say firefighters formed a line to hug Volz.

Polidan says she was repeatedly accused of having oral sex with Volz and that when she complained to him about it; he instead suggested she give him oral sex. Captain Stephens claims he was subjected to retaliation for supporting Polidan in her complaint. They are seeking an undisclosed financial judgment. (JK)