It's legal. The hiring of two East Liverpool City firefighters was by the books, so says city law Director Charles Payne.
Is it over now, we ask? Are those who questioned the hiring OK with Payne's opinion?
We hope so because the "controversy" has been a bit silly, to be honest.
At issue is the association Chief Bill Jones has with newly-hired firefighters Aaron Jones and Jason Glista. Aaron Jones is the chief's son and Glista at one time dated the chief's daughter.
We believed the "association" issue to be squashed earlier when the chief provided to nay-sayers that other candidates who tested higher on a civil service test opted not to be considered or were not considered based on several factors, which included failure to take the agility test, not wanting full-time employment, lack of training and not wanting to move to the city.
Previous firefighting training is not a requirement to take the civil service exam. But in order to be interviewed, candidates must score at least a 70 percent on the civil service exam and pass the agility test.
Finally, during the interview, candidates are welcome to share any experience and/or training they may poses.
The younger Jones, we've learned, underwent training on his own in order to perhaps move higher on the list of candidates. In essence, his hiring saved the city money by not having to foot the bill for the required training.
Glista also had the required training, and, according to city Service-Safety Director Ryan Estell, interviewed the best out of potential candidates.
And it's Estell who does the actual hiring within the department, and he, along with two assistant chiefs, conducted the interviews. Chief Jones was not active in the process.
What we gathered from the entire drama, from the get-go, is that the city did no wrong by the hires.
But some former city leaders, along with current city Councilman Ray Perorazio, a retired city firefighter, questioned the hirings.
Residency, test scores and training have been the sticking points of those against the hirings. All questions that now appear to have been answered.
Glista currently lives in Canfield, but plans to move, and the younger Jones has since moved into the city. According to Chief Jones, firefighters are required to move to the area following a one-year probationary period.
As per the test scores, the only requirement is the 70 percent score, which both men achieved.
Payne, in his ruling, dealt with the training issue.
Referencing the Ohio Revised Code, Payne said "no applicant was deemed ineligible for failure to have attended firefighting school."
He added that "I find nothing in the facts nor the law that would lead me to legal conclusion that the new appointments were made contrary to the law."
There may have been some underlining issues here between city leadership and those in former position of some authority, we're not sure. We only hope now, that the issue to be laid to rest.
The important thing is the city added two firefighters to its roster, both with training and/or previous experience, to safeguard our city and its residents. And that's always a good thing.