We live in community, and many things affect the community. It is a certainty that [Robb] Corbett and [Mike] Ciraulo clashed before his abrupt retirement. Silence, when an injustice is committed, is complicity and perpetuates complicity.
When Mike Ciraulo was hired as Pendleton fire chief in 2015 he came to us with 30 years of fire-fighting and emergency medical services experience as well as 12 years as a Battle Ground, Washington, city councilman and mayor. Stuart Roberts said of Ciraulo at the time of hiring, “Obviously, such experience is unique, there is tremendous value in having someone who understands governmental expenditure, challenge, political navigation.”
Ciraulo came in and restored lire department credibility and led the effort to pass the 2016 Pendleton lire department bond to build a new, and needed, fire station.
What was the reason for Ciraulo’s sudden leaving now in 2018? Simply put, personal issues. The failure appears to lie directly with City Manager Robb Corbett. The city manager was to have reevaluated the chain of command in the first few months of Mike’s hire and reestablished that the fire chief would report to the city manager rather than the police chief. This Corbett failed to do, thus laying the groundwork for potential personal conflict between the fire chief and the police chief.
Secondly, there was a difference in management style between the city manager and the fire chief, which the city manager was unwilling to resolve. All of this was cause for someone to admit making a mistake. The city manager admits to no error.
I believe, with others, Mike Ciraulo would have walked the extra mile were that at all possible. Mike’s leaving was certainly not an appropriate result no matter what may have happened.
What’s done is done, but Ciraulo’s departure leaves a real feeling that the city of Pendleton has lost a committed professional. It need not have been so.