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.
Continue Reading Personal Accountability with Morality
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: www.rapidcityjournal.com) 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: www2.timesdispatch.com)
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: www.woodtv.com)
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!
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