1. #1
    Forum Member
    MemphisE34a's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Memphis, TN - USA
    Posts
    2,531

    Default Minn Fire Chief Suspended Over Fire Truck Wedding Photos

    WINDOM, Minn. -- A standing-room-only crowd inside the Windom City Council chambers Tuesday night broke into cheers and applause as Windom Fire Chief Dan Fossing and 27 members of the city's fire department walked single file into the room.

    They were among nearly 150 people gathered for the meeting to show their support for the volunteer fire chief, whose position was threatened a week ago for disobeying a request not to take a fire truck off city property for personal use.

    Fossing allowed a fire truck to leave the fire hall on July 11, so that a fellow firefighter could have a truck as part of his wedding photos. The truck was taken to a church within Windom's city limits.

    A week ago, city officials raised the issue and discussed Fossing's possible termination. A 21-year member of the Windom Fire Department, Fossing has served as an assistant fire chief for 12 years before being named fire chief five years ago.

    In recent days, Fossing had met with members of the city's personnel committee to work out an agreeable solution to the matter -- one that did not include his termination from the volunteer department.

    After a nearly 30-minute closed session Tuesday night, during which time Fossing met privately with members of the City Council, the Windom City Council voted 3-2 to suspend Fossing from his position for 18 days, effective at 12:01 a.m. today.

    Windom City Council member Bob Messer, who represented the city's personnel committee, read a statement when the meeting was reopened to the public.

    Messer stated, "On September 14, 2009, the personnel committee unanimously recommended a suspension of Dan Fossing for six days for violating city policy, six days for insubordination and six days for non-permitted use of city equipment."

    Fossing was granted permission to respond to the suspension. He said, "I was told by the City Administrator not to use a fire truck for personal use at a firefighters wedding. On July 11, 2009, I made the decision to allow the fire truck to be used for personal use. I take full responsibility for my actions and am truly sorry."

    Fossing also thanked his supporters for attending the meeting. Afterwards, in an interview with the Daily Globe, he said that the situation was one in which neither side was a winner.

    "I take full responsibility for what I did," he said. "Personally, I felt it was a little excessive -- the punishment for what the crime was."

    On the other hand, Fossing said he will not be going against city wishes pertaining to personal use of city-owned property in the future.

    "I truly feel like a worn-out lightning rod," he said. "It's been mostly positive stuff coming from the community and the surrounding area, but it's definitely been a long week."

    Among those in the crowd for Tuesday night's meeting were eight men each from the Jackson and Mountain Lake fire departments, representatives from the Comfrey and Darfur departments, community members and Fossing's family.

    Jackson Fire Chief Larry Olsen said he came to show his support for Fossing.

    "I think the matter was so trivial that it really made me a little angry at first," Olsen said. He spoke of the role of a volunteer firefighter -- being on-call 24-7, 365 days a year; having to leave the supper table for a call or leave the wife and children to respond in a time of need.

    "We stand behind each other," he said of firefighters. "I don't think I could find a better person to stand behind."

    "(Dan) should be given an apology," Olsen added. "In fact, he should be given a service award."

    Chuck Wolle, Mountain Lake fire chief, said he thought the threat of Fossing's termination was "absurd," adding that the dedication of a firefighter should be rewarded by allowing a fire truck to be in a photo on one of the most important days of his life.

    "I think (Dan) is an excellent fire chief," Wolle said. "He's knowledgeable, he's safety conscious about his guys -- he's a novel firefighter as far as I'm concerned."

    Windom Fire Department's second in command -- assistant fire chief Dan Ortmann -- waited with the crowd outside the Windom City Hall during the closed session. He, too, spoke of Fossing's dedication to the department.

    "Dan is an excellent fire chief," Ortmann said. "He gives us great leadership. He's probably one of the nicest guys I've ever met."

    Following Fossing's apology to the City Council, Mayor Kirby Kruse offered his appreciation not only to Fossing, but to the entire Windom Fire Department.

    "I would like to express our gratitude to the fire department and to Dan for the terrific job and all the dedicated service that you do for the City of Windom," Kruse said. "Thank you."

    McClatchy-Tribune News Service


    Way to go Windam City Fathers! You'll show him, you won't lket him work for you for free.

    More retarded politics. The rest of the volunteers should consider suspending themselves for the same term and see how much the same folks miss their free fire department.
    RK
    cell #901-494-9437

    Management is making sure things are done right. Leadership is doing the right thing. The fire service needs alot more leaders and a lot less managers.

    "Everyone goes home" is the mantra for the pussification of the modern, American fire service.


    Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

  2. #2
    Forum Member
    Bones42's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Pt. Beach, NJ
    Posts
    10,694

    Default

    Yup, cuz we're volunteers and we don't need to follow rules.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

  3. #3
    MembersZone Subscriber
    voyager9's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Southern NJ
    Posts
    2,007

    Default

    It sounds like the issue isn't "taking the truck to the wedding" but "taking the truck to the wedding after being told not to". The chief knew there would be ramifications for going against the order. He's taking his lumps. I bet he also earned some respect for his men for it.

    I'm curious why the city council were involved in the day-to-day use of the truck in the first place. I would think this would be a local FD affair, especially since the truck stayed in town.

    We've had two members ask for trucks to be at their wedding. One was out of town, which required the approval of Chief, and Commission. The other was in town and only required the chief's notification.

    Still,
    Some conveniently scheduled "driver training" could have avoided the problem.
    So you call this your free country
    Tell me why it costs so much to live
    -3dd

  4. #4
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    135

    Question

    Maybe he shouldn't have asked for permission prior to the event. Sometimes it might be better to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission. Sure would have taken the insubordination out of the equation.

  5. #5
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    Lusby, MD
    Posts
    1,035

    Default

    I agree with Voyager on this one. Seems like he was willing to take his punishment, but I bet he didn't realize what the punishment would be. The issue does seem to be that he took the truck after being told not to. I also wonder why the city council was involved in that type of decision. Makes me think there was some history there or something that we're not hearing.

    He definitely should have been punished for taking the pumper after being told not to, but I question the severity. I also question why the council got involved in the first place.

  6. #6
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    7

    Default

    In most if not all states that use of government property/equipment is determined as official misuse of government monies when used for personal reasons. Some states it could get you a criminal charge of official misconduct.

  7. #7
    Forum Member
    GTRider245's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Augusta,GA
    Posts
    3,064

    Default

    I promise you those very same trucks are used in more absurd ways for the various types of "public service" calls the politicains will have us run.

    Props to the chief.
    Career Firefighter
    Volunteer Captain

    -Professional in Either Role-

    Quote Originally Posted by Rescue101 View Post
    I don't mind fire rolling over my head. I just don't like it rolling UNDER my a**.

  8. #8
    Forum Member
    snowball's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Location
    Just North of South Central
    Posts
    2,740

    Default

    Maybe people should just leave the fire department out of their wedding plans alltogether.
    IAFF

  9. #9
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Canuck Expat May be anywhere
    Posts
    2,906

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by voyager9 View Post
    It sounds like the issue isn't "taking the truck to the wedding" but "taking the truck to the wedding after being told not to". The chief knew there would be ramifications for going against the order. He's taking his lumps. I bet he also earned some respect for his men for it.

    I'm curious why the city council were involved in the day-to-day use of the truck in the first place. I would think this would be a local FD affair, especially since the truck stayed in town.

    We've had two members ask for trucks to be at their wedding. One was out of town, which required the approval of Chief, and Commission. The other was in town and only required the chief's notification.

    Still,
    Some conveniently scheduled "driver training" could have avoided the problem.
    City council was probably involved in that the FD in their town was a municipal entity. That is owned by the city/town. They probably would have been equally involved if someone wanted to use a city owned garbage truck.

  10. #10
    MembersZone Subscriber
    voyager9's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Southern NJ
    Posts
    2,007

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by snowball View Post
    Maybe people should just leave the fire department out of their wedding plans alltogether.
    Perhaps, but doesn't that fall under "To each his own"?

    Don't Tuxedo T-shirts fall there as well?
    So you call this your free country
    Tell me why it costs so much to live
    -3dd

  11. #11
    Forum Member
    FyredUp's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 1999
    Location
    Rural Wisconsin, Retired from the burbs of Milwaukee
    Posts
    10,239

    Default

    Let me see if i have this right.

    1) A volunteer firefighter wanted a fire truck for some pictures at his wedding at a church in town.

    2) The Chief asked permission and was told no by the city council.

    3) The Chief said go ahead anyways.

    4) Chief is suspended for 18 days.

    Okay, who is right? Um, legally I would say the city council is right since he was told not to do this. Realistically this kind of event happens all over the country thousands of times a year. Whether it is for a wedding, or the winning high school sports team, or some other PR event like block parties, or local festivals or whatever.

    My opinion? The city council overreacted. The Chief never should have asked in the first place. These inconsequential types of events happen all the time. As long as the ladder remained in service, and available for calls, what's the big deal?

  12. #12
    Forum Member
    FWDbuff's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Pee-Ayy!
    Posts
    7,417

    Default

    I question the reporters facts here.....

    -If the City Council can control disciplinary actions of the Fire Chief, then he must not be %100 volunteer. I wonder if he is POC??? Or perhaps he is appointed? Our fire chief is elected by the members of the company, and if City Council tried to suspend him, they would promptly told to go pound sand.

    Either way, if he committed the acts as described in the article, he was insubordinate, and deserves severe reprimand. Firing? Maybe not that far. I believe the 18 day vacation is just.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

  13. #13
    IACOJ BOD
    FlyingKiwi's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    4,757

    Default

    Buff.

    I was wondering the same thing.

    18 days off at $0.00 when he can then resume for the remaining 347 days of the year at $0.00 makes a nasty punishment.

    18 days in a row of not dragging your sorry butt out at oh dark thirty for free???

    THAT is a holiday not a punishment.
    Psychiatrists state 1 in 4 people has a mental illness.
    Look at three of your friends, if they are ok, your it.

  14. #14
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    VT
    Posts
    360

    Default

    I think the council had their heads up their collective butts. That being said, he was wrong. He knew it, admitted it and accepted the consequences.

  15. #15
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    2,802

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by snowball View Post
    Maybe people should just leave the fire department out of their wedding plans alltogether.
    I agree, a bit dingerish. But if the guy is a volly this is part of those little nice things you can do for your volunteers that make them happy and keep them productive?

    Definitely some kind of history here and/or some stupid city council.

    Next time someone asks for the truck to be in their wedding photos, the chief should say, "nope we have scheduled driver training." BUT, if they happen to be at a stop light or stop to pre-plan a structure and some citizens would like to have a picture in front of the fire truck, they should be happy oblige their requests. After all whats a few minutes for some good PR while out driver training or pre-planning?

  16. #16
    Back In Black
    ChiefKN's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    The Nice Part of New Jersey
    Posts
    6,981

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by snowball View Post
    Maybe people should just leave the fire department out of their wedding plans alltogether.
    That's what I did.

    How these brides agree to some of the goofy crap i've seen at weddings is beyond me.

    Eh, to each his own, I guess.
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

    "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

    "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

  17. #17
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Southern Indiana
    Posts
    497

    Default

    My opinion - since they said no and it happened anyway, you have to take your lumps.

    Now personally - I think its a bit of BS. They could have arranged it to keep the truck in service or any number of things. Since it a volunteer side, its PR and a show of appreciation. There are a lot of things to get worked up about this isn't one of them.

  18. #18
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    2,802

    Default

    hey guys, want to see a good grenade?? :P


    how bout you make a tv show about a bunch of volunteers that go around setting houses on fires then jumping on then showing up and putting them out?

  19. #19
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Rural Iowa
    Posts
    3,106

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    Let me see if i have this right.

    1) A volunteer firefighter wanted a fire truck for some pictures at his wedding at a church in town.

    2) The Chief asked permission and was told no by the city council.
    ....
    Actually


    "I was told by the City Administrator not to use a fire truck for personal use at a firefighters wedding.

    A Fire Chief that reports to a City "Adminstrator"? Pretty much like reporting to the Town libararian. And were was the mayor in this?

    Suppose the "Adminstrator" would "allow" use of a pumper to haul the FF's casket after a LOD?

  20. #20
    Forum Member
    FyredUp's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 1999
    Location
    Rural Wisconsin, Retired from the burbs of Milwaukee
    Posts
    10,239

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by nameless View Post
    hey guys, want to see a good grenade?? :P


    how bout you make a tv show about a bunch of volunteers that go around setting houses on fires then jumping on then showing up and putting them out?
    Tossing the grenade back at ya...

    How about they make a TV show about a career house where they deal drugs, or have prostitutes in, or where they have guys drunk on duty, or get in fights serious enough that guys career are ruined? OH and don't forget those career fire firghter arsonists too!

    Not so funny now is it?

  21. #21
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Outside Philadelphia
    Posts
    519

    Default

    So, I'm guessing the 4 apparatus at my wedding was overdoing it????
    A Fire Chief has ONLY 1 JOB and that's to take care of his fireman. EVERYTHING else falls under this.

  22. #22
    Forum Member
    FWDbuff's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Pee-Ayy!
    Posts
    7,417

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JTFIRE80 View Post
    So, I'm guessing the 4 apparatus at my wedding was overdoing it????
    Well you know how they have to over-do things in Montgomery County! Why have one engine when you can have four? From the same house???
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

  23. #23
    Back In Black
    ChiefKN's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    The Nice Part of New Jersey
    Posts
    6,981

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JTFIRE80 View Post
    So, I'm guessing the 4 apparatus at my wedding was overdoing it????
    Depends on the four.
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

    "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

    "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

  24. #24
    MembersZone Subscriber
    LVFD301's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    4,008

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by neiowa View Post
    Actually


    "I was told by the City Administrator not to use a fire truck for personal use at a firefighters wedding.

    A Fire Chief that reports to a City "Adminstrator"? Pretty much like reporting to the Town libararian. And were was the mayor in this?

    Suppose the "Adminstrator" would "allow" use of a pumper to haul the FF's casket after a LOD?
    Lots of towns have city administrators that run the city - also known as city managers, and the mayors are basically figureheads that run the council meetings.

  25. #25
    Early Adopter
    cozmosis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 1999
    Location
    Arkansas
    Posts
    1,925

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by BryanLoader View Post
    City council was probably involved in that the FD in their town was a municipal entity. That is owned by the city/town. They probably would have been equally involved if someone wanted to use a city owned garbage truck.
    Eh. I work for a municipal department and the city council lets the fire chief (and his subordinates) decide what happens with the fire engines... Just as they let the public works director and his folks make decisions on the garbage trucks.

    The chief disobeyed an order. He's serving his punishment. That's how the system works. But like some of you guys... I'd like to know how this became an issue in the first place.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. Nokomis Fla--Fire Chief Suspended
    By captstanm1 in forum Firefighters Forum
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 05-30-2005, 04:36 PM
  2. Florida Fire union chief suspended
    By sconfire in forum Firefighters Forum
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 02-04-2004, 10:39 AM
  3. Keyes FD Fire chief, assistant suspended
    By sconfire in forum Firefighters Forum
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 01-23-2004, 06:55 PM
  4. Fire Truck Wedding in Indiana
    By NJFFSA16 in forum The Off Duty Forums
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 05-26-2003, 08:44 AM
  5. Florida Fire Chief Suspended
    By captstanm1 in forum The Off Duty Forums
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 04-10-2003, 06:39 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts

Log in

Click here to log in or register