The Cedar Falls firefighters’ union is taking the city to court.

Attorneys for the International Association of Firefighters Local 1366 are attempting to stop a decision by city officials to appoint candidates with little firefighter experience to fire department leadership roles under the combined public safety operations. On Friday, the union filed a petition in Black Hawk County District Court seeking to get those appointments overturned.

In a press release, the firefighters union said the city has appointed nine people to leadership positions in the fire department and claimed that professional firefighters weren't considered for any of the "critically important roles". According to union officials, at least six of the nine appointees are cross-trained police officers who have never worked one day as a full-time firefighter.

“These promotions violate state law that prohibits employment of individuals in fire department positions if they are unable to meet reasonable physical condition training and level of experience requirements for the positions,” firefighters’ attorney David Ricksecker of Washington, D.C. said in the press release. “Such arbitrary personnel actions can endanger the safety of the citizens.”

“The decision of the city ignores the importance of training and experience when it comes to keeping the citizens safe,” said Union President Scott Dix. “In these positions, that firefighting knowledge and on-the-job experience can mean the difference between life and death.”

The petition filed by union attorneys specifically asks the court to stop the appointments and issue a ruling that the city of Cedar Falls has violated state law by placing individuals in fire department supervisory positions without adequate experience and physical testing.

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