Sunday, February 21, 2010

Personal Accountability with Morality

Many times, we find ourselves complaining about our lack of control over our jobs or with our futures at our jobs.

We are in middle level management and historically, that has been the “crème in the Oreo cookie” of corporate America. That is; we get squeezed from both sides-the employers’ and the employees’.

But, something that we DO have control over is our moral compass. THAT sets the direction down the road to righteous decisions for a bounty of personal, moral and ethical situations.

I receive many on-line versions of magazines. Honestly, I don’t know why companies even bother sending out paper versions anymore. Often times, they go straight to the re-cycle bin unopened.

One of my faves is Fire Chief and articles by author/editor Janet Wilmoth. Janet has had her fingers on the pulse of the fire service for many years and her editorial this month was no exception.

Her topic for this month was “Chiefs Behaving Badly”.

I immediately bristled at the notion and I know that I could provide irrefutable examples that would prove that chiefs had not cornered the market on bad behavior within our fire service.

Why, just in the last few days, Caleb Lacey was found guilty of arson and homicide for a fire that he set in Long Island.

However; Wilmoth did provide some examples of some pretty egregious behavior by chiefs.

First up is Gary Scott, former chief of Campbell County, Wyoming’s fire department.

Apparently, the chief liked to molest his fire cadets; so much so that he pleaded no contest to FOURTEEN counts of sex abuse.

And we wonder why junior/explorer programs are going away!

The kicker is that Scott is already serving a 24-year sentence on TEN felony convictions of taking children across state lines for sexual abuse. (Source: He is either very stupid or very sick (twisted) or both.

Stay tuned to this one. Some of the young boys who were molested have filed a $150 million lawsuit against the fire department. Somehow, I don’t think that Tort Immunity is going to be enough. They might want to start NOW looking for new revenue streams to pay their legal bills.

Next, we have Eric Adam Grueninger, former chief of Locust Creek Volunteer Fire Department in Louisa County, Virginia.

This sick mutt was sentenced to 323 years in prison with 235 years suspended (?) for TWENTY felony sex counts, including rape, forcible sodomy, aggravated sexual battery of a minor, object sexual penetration, taking indecent liberties with a child and possession of child pornography. (Source:

Sorry, folks; no snappy retort for this one. This one leaves me shaking my head and leaves me wondering how a “pillar” in a community can be so depraved and yet; shows no noticeable, outward signs. I can say that deep scars will exist forever with the victims and for a very long time in their respective communities.

Then, there is the curious case of Chief David Peterson of the Plainfield Township, Michigan Fire Department.

According to the article that I read, Chief Peterson and Township Supervisor Robert Homan knew that volunteer firefighter and township assistant clerk Jeffrey Hawkins was a convicted sex offender and they allowed him to continue working for the fire department. Hawkins was first convicted in the mid-90s for a crime involving a boy younger than 13 years of age.

Hawkins was again arrested in September of 2009 for soliciting sex from two, young boys on Facebook. (Source:

Public opinion has been brutal since Hawkins’ arrest. The township fire department has been accused of putting other children at risk, for keeping a convicted pedophile on the fire department and for keeping it “secret”.

So, when we have our discussions about how a chief is promoted (elected or appointed), the cost of doing background checks (or not doing them) and as to how desperate volunteer fire departments are to recruit and retain members; please think about what you have just read, but with this one caveat: $150 million in potential liability to your department and taxpayers.

Anything else pales by comparison!


The article is protected by federal copyright law under The Adventures of Jake and Vinnie© umbrella. It is written and submitted by Art Goodrich a.k.a. ChiefReason. This article or any other article submitted under The Adventures of Jake and Vinnie© umbrella cannot be reproduced in ANY form without the expressed, written permission of the author. Violations are punishable by applicable laws.
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  1. yikes. Shocking stuff, and agree background checks are a necessity not a nice to have!

  2. I am the mother of one of the victims and I have sat back long enough, holding my tongue until now. The man that most people would look up to has left me and my child in such a life of termoil, that there will never be any normality in our lives again. My child has been through everything imaginable. What society calls counseling-to lock up has even caused him to try and commit suicide, he carries the scars that remind him of what unjust actions where taken upon him unwillingly. Just because he carried around the horror that no-one would believed in. When it was reported the authorities, they said it was just me trying to create problems and that I needed to stay at home and worry about how I was going to take care of my own problems. My problems are with the legal system and what they are doing with my child and why he needed to be out in the middle of a fire when he should have been in detention. I am through sitting here listening to how much he was sentenced for his actions. This person knows what he has done and how he has messed the childrens lives up forever. You as a human (wrongful mind) do not have the right to get rich off of these childrens horrors and misfortunes just to make yourself look good and innocent. It is very hard for me to keep quiet any more. There is so much I can tell you about what Campbell County Juvinile Probation and what they have done as well as the Fire Cadette Program. There will never by any justice for these children until he is put away for good. Campbell County will never feel the distraught feelings and actions that my son along with the other children have gone through. Let alone the debt that they owe him for his life. He was the first child to attend the Fire Fighter Cadette Program. It ruined his dreams of becoming a fire fighter, not to mention the struggles in life we have had to endure.


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