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Airport fire chief suspended for being AWOL

The Ohio fire chief was absent without leave on two separate days


Cleveland Hopkins International Airport’s fire chief was suspended without pay for being AWOL on two separate days in January.

Photo/Kevin Payravi, Wikimedia Commons,

Robert Higgs
Advance Ohio Media, Cleveland

CLEVELAND, Ohio — The fire chief at city-owned Cleveland Hopkins International Airport was suspended from work for a day this month after he was found to have been absent without leave for two days from his job.

Chief Demari Garth was discovered missing from work Jan. 6. When his supervisor inquired where he was, Garth said he was in Las Vegas for a hockey tournament, according to airport records released to

The chief intended to use vacation time for his trip, records state, but required paperwork had not been filed notifying his superiors that he would be off work.

Subsequently it was discovered that Garth had also missed work Jan. 3.

Garth told airport leadership that the lack of paperwork was an oversight.

Following disciplinary hearings, Garth was suspended without pay for one day, Feb. 12, for neglect of duty, being AWOL, conduct unbecoming and for violating the city’s personnel policies on vacation time.

You can read his suspension letter below. Mobile readers click here.

“Your position as ARFF [Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting] chief is vital to the safety of our airports,” Cheryl Hawkins, the airport’s human resource administrator, wrote in a disciplinary letter.

“After hearing your explanation of the incident, we have determined that your explanations were not credible,” Hawkins wrote. “As a person in a very visible leadership role, you are held to a high standard and must uphold policy and procedure as you are setting an example for your section.”


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