By: Robert Avsec
The headline on FireRescue1.com read:
Investigation into affair between firefighter, teen turns to firehouse sex, officer knowledge
A veteran firefighter was accused of carrying out a long-term sexual relationship with a teenager in his firehouse; new documents reveal a FD official knew about the affair, but didn’t say anything: http://www.firerescue1.com/fire-department-management/articles/1472209-Investigation-into-affair-between-firefighter-teen-turns-to-firehouse-sex-officer-knowledge/
Watch the original newscast here:
Newscast from Columbus, Ohio television station, TV10
I believe there is a lot more to this story than meets the eye after watching the entire news footage from the Columbus, OH television station:
1. We have a firefighter who has brought unwanted and negative publicity to the Columbus (OH) Fire Department. Whether or not he had sex with the young lady in the fire station as alleged is immaterial on this point. The TV station folks “smelled smoke” and went looking for the “fire”—as they should have given that these are public employees being paid by the good people of Columbus via their tax dollars. Now fire department leadership has to deal with the “fallout”.
2. We have a firefighter who allegedly gave a security code for the fire station to an unauthorized person—violation of departmental policy I’m sure. If as alleged, the firefighter did allow the young lady access to the fire station, he disobeyed his Lieutenant’s revised station rules on visitor conduct.
3. If the firefighter did indeed have sex in the fire station with the young lady while on duty, he is guilty of fraud each and every time he received his salary as a firefighter during that time. When you have public employees engaged in conduct that is outside the scope of their job and job responsibilities, e.g., operating their personal business while on duty or having sex while on duty (regardless of the relationship between the parties), that is fraud. When you’re not doing the job that the people are paying you to do, that is fraud.
4. We have a Lieutenant who saw the young lady in the firefighter’s bedroom at the fire station and from what we know from the news story his only response was to issue new station rules for having visitors in the station. I’ll go “out on a limb” here and say that I believe that he did nothing more—like counsel the firefighter after the first event. Nope, instead let’s do the usual “management by avoidance” and issue a new policy for the entire station.
And this activity was allegedly going on for two years? Where was the Lieutenant during this period of time? Looks to me like he didn’t know what was happening right under his nose.
5. Lastly, we have a Battalion Chief who had information about the entire affair and chose to do NOTHING. Didn’t investigate the episode, didn’t tell his superiors about the affair, an affair that took place on his “watch”. Told other people in the fire department, but didn’t tell his boss. Oh right, he’d been transferred and didn’t have oversight responsibilities for Station 17 any longer, and that’s germane to this discussion because?
When you become an officer I believe you have an obligation to be an officer 24/7/365 and one of your primary responsibilities is to lead, guide and direct the people under your command in a manner that only brings honor and positive recognition to the organization you belong to and the other men and women you work with. In this situation, we apparently have at least two officers who did not meet that obligation.
Am I “jumping the gun” on this one? We don’t know all the facts of the case, that’s for sure, but I know one thing from my career in the municipal fire service: You don’t conduct an extensive investigation of an incident, and produce a 200-page report that documents that investigation, because you didn’t have anything better to do.
I give a lot of credit to the Japanese and their management culture: bring dishonor to the organization and you submit your resignation for having done so. In the USA, we conduct an investigation and produce a 200-page report…and life goes on.
That is until the local television station’s truck pulls up on the front ramp of the fire station.