A Florida fire chief is being investigated by the state fire marshal’s office to determine if his firefighter certification has lapsed. Fire Chief Ben Greenslait of the Freeport Fire Department is under scrutiny based on a complaint filed by his predecessor, former Fire Chief Wayne Charles.
Chief Charles alleged that Chief Greenslait’s FF2 certification lapsed when he was inactive for over 3 years, and he should have been required to have taken a recertification exam when he was hired as fire chief back in 2008.
In response to the controversy, Freeport Mayor Mickey Marse had some colorful comments. He was quoted extensively in the media as follows:
- “My attorney told me not to go and talk to Wayne Charles ’cause I wanted to talk to him this morning and choke the living hell out of him.”
- “He is stirring crap as far as he can go. … Why is he in my grits?
- “It’s BS, that’s the way I feel about it,”
- “As far as I’m concerned, nobody’s notified me (of) anything. (Greenslait is) going to stay there until somebody tells me, ‘Hey, you can’t have him anymore.’ I’ve just about had it with this (expletive).”
- “Trying to destroy him just cause he’s doing a good job…is that what’s happening?”
- “I don’t know. Maybe some one else can tell me, but that’s the way I’m feeling right now.”
One final comment… let’s call it a weekend rant: does it ever cross people’s minds to consider the damage they do to an organization by making these kinds of allegations… (actually the damage extends to the fire service as a whole when these nasty disputes play out in public) … and will the point being made (even if true) be more important than the damage done.
In my law practice I see an awful lot of vengeful, spiteful people seeking to use the legal system as a sword… Most times they are 100% justified in pursuing their ends and only occasionally are they not – but even when they are justified – they rarely are concerned about the big picture. Shouldn’t the big picture matter? Or is it all about “me” and what I want to see happen… My sense of justice must be vindicated even if the reputation of an organization and firefighters everywhere must suffer…