Gary Spragg returns this week as Port Dover firefighter

By David Judd

GARY Spragg will be back this week as a Port Dover firefighter.
He will be a captain with the Norfolk County Fire Department’s Station 2 in Port Dover.
Mr. Spragg was district fire chief for 22 years before he was abruptly fired in September.
His return as captain “by mutual agreement” with Norfolk County takes effect on Thursday.
“I’m very happy,” Mr. Spragg said in an interview on the weekend.
“I am happy to return and to give the community the best I can do.”

Above: Gary Spragg will be back this week as a Port Dover firefighter. Mayor Kristal Chopp announced the return.

Mayor Kristal Chopp announced Mr. Spragg’s return in an open letter to the community.
In her letter, Mayor Chopp offered “sincerest apologies to Mr. Spragg and his family for the handling of this matter.”
The mayor praised Mr. Spragg for his nearly 44 years’ service as a volunteer firefighter, half of them as Port Dover chief.
The mayor said Mr. Spragg is looking forward to working with Bill Howden, who will continue as district chief.
Mr. Spragg told The Maple Leaf the agreement to return as a firefighter “went through my lawyer.”
“There’s a new council and it seems to be working really well,” he said.
“I’m happy and we have great firefighters. They can’t wait to get me back. My faith in justice has been brought back.”
Mayor Chopp’s letter offered no details on what happened behind the scenes.
Normally, county officials do not comment on individual employment matters.
County CAO David Cribbs, who fired Mr. Spragg during a meeting on Sept. 4 and accidentally e-mailed details of the firing to all county employees, resigned his position last Tuesday following a closed-door session of county council.
Mr. Spragg is a former Port Dover Citizen of the Year.
His firing was an issue in October’s municipal election.
Residents signed petitions and questioned candidates about re-appointing Mr. Spragg.
On the weekend, Mr. Spragg thanked the community of Port Dover and area, Port Dover firefighters and district chiefs for their support.
Mr. Spragg will be 70 on Oct. 26. He declared himself in good physical shape.
“I don’t know how many years I have left but I can end them the way I want to end them,” he said.

See Letter from Mayor Chopp in this week’s Port Dover Maple Leaf

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