Garden Grove Delays Release of Fire Dept. Investigation Report

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Garden Grove officials are delaying the release of a written report on an independent probe into the fire department, which city council members received at Tuesday night’s meeting, until fire union officials get to see it.

According to City Clerk Kathy Bailor, members of the public are entitled to receive the report when council members do. But Bailor said that the city will not release the report until fire union representatives receive it.

“My city manager has asked me not to release the report until the [fire] union receives it, as a courtesy to them,” Bailor said. 

City Manager Matthew Fertal ordered an investigation into management issues in the department in August, after a unanimous vote of no confidence for fire chief Dave Barlag from fire union members. 

The investigation also examines the hiring of 37-year-old Jeremy Broadwater, son of Mayor Bruce Broadwater, who was hired last October despite a series of misdemeanor arrests and poor performance reviews from superiors.

Management Partners Inc., the independent company hired to do the investigation, initially gave the city manager a verbal report of their findings. After public outrage, council members asked Fertal to create a written report. 

Days after Barlag resigned earlier this month, Jeremy Broadwater was reassigned to desk duty. 

After Tuesday’s council meeting, where members of the public again called on the city to terminate his son’s employment, the visibly angry mayor reacted to the focus on his son’s performance and criminal record. He said Jeremy, his adopted son, was arrested during a troubled youth. 

“He’s not some criminal […] His life has totally changed,” Broadwater said. 

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