LEBANON, Ohio -- Captain Steven Johnson has been promoted as Lebanon's new fire chief, after former Chief Pierino "Perry" Gerome was fired in September.
Johnson began his service with the Lebanon Fire Division in 2007, and was promoted from Lieutenant to Captain in May 2013, according to city officials. Johnson has been a member of the fire service for 28 years and is currently a team leader on the Warren County Technical Rescue Team and a tactical medic on the Warren County Tactical Response Unit. Johnson also served as a corpsman in the Marine Corps for four years.
Johnson holds a bachelor of science degree in Business Administration from The Ohio State University and multiple certifications in fire and emergency rescue.
"Chief Johnson is a highly experienced leader in the fire service, and he has earned the trust and respect of the Lebanon Fire Division staff and our community. I am confident that he is fully prepared to serve as our new fire chief,” said City Manager Pat Clements in a news release.
Former chief Gerome was accused of not following city policies and procedures after a crash involving one of the city's fire engines in July, which lead to his termination. Clements also explained "previous disciplinary action" contributed to his departure from the fire department. According to the Dayton Daily News, Gerome called on-duty fire crews and equipment to his home to help surprise his wife for her 50th birthday by pretending the house was on fire.
Gerome also had crews deliver a chain saw to help him clear fallen limbs after a storm earlier this year, the Dayton Daily News reported.
Clements called the actions "an abuse of authority." Records show the city suspended Gerome without pay for five days last spring, ordered him to reimburse the city $1,025 and provide his department ethics training.
And, in an April 25 disciplinary letter, Clements warned Gerome he could be fired if he didn't straighten up.
"Your willful disregard of the ethical standards of public employment and your demonstrated lack of leadership has caused me to seriously question whether you are able to effectively serve in the position of fire chief," Clements wrote. "Further lapse in leadership and judgment on your part will result in termination of your employment."