1. #1
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    Default Fire chief accused politicking on the job

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    Wednesday, December 11, 2002*


    Benoit clears fire training chief
    Action from the fire, police civil service board is pending.
    Claire Taylor

    LAFAYETTE, LA - Fire Training Chief Samuel Pierre was exonerated Tuesday by Fire Chief Robert Benoit in connection with charges of politicking at the office.

    But Pierre is not yet in the clear. The Municipal Fire and Police Civil Service Board will review the findings of a consolidated government investigation and, in January, can either clear Pierre or find him guilty.

    State civil service rules prohibit political activity by civil service employees. If the municipal civil service board finds Pierre guilty, the 22-year fire department veteran could lose his job.

    Pierre was accused of passing out sample ballots to his subordinates before the Nov. 5 election. Clarence Glenn, one of three firefighters investigated for allegedly trying to influence voters three years ago when his wife ran for public office, accused Pierre of distributing sample ballots showing only

    the Democratic candidates and propositions Pierre allegedly supported.

    "I did nothing wrong," Pierre maintained Tuesday. "I feel it's a conspiracy."

    The civil service board was asked to investigate the accusations in November. The board in turn asked the fire department to investigate, which led to the consolidated government's human resources department hiring attorney Richard Chappuis to take official statements from witnesses and accusers. Those statements were delivered to the civil service board Tuesday and were the basis for Benoit's exoneration of Pierre.

    Benoit said Glenn filed his complaint based on hearsay, not on facts. Others who supposedly witnessed Pierre's activities discounted the accusations. Another complainant did not show up to provide

    a statement during the investigation.

    "Three complainants all gave information they couldn't prove," Benoit said. "There is no evidence to sustain the accusations."

    Charlie Buckels, chairman of the Lafayette Republican Party Parish Executive Committee, said the laws against politicking by civil service employees are aimed at avoiding the potential for intimidation of public employees by their supervisors.

    "This is where a lot of political corruption occurs, in public facilities," Buckels said. "If he handed out ballots, he should be prosecuted. He broke the law if that occurred."

    Pierre is the brother of state Rep. Wilfred Pierre, D-Lafayette, who was not up for re-election in November.

  2. #2
    55 Years & Still Rolling
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    Talking Huh???

    Quick! Somebody get a bigger teapot, the tempest is outgrowing this one. Sorry, but I think this is stupid except for the question of whether his actions at any moment would have caused any delay in providing services to the community. Last time I looked, we still have a right to our own opinions, free speech, and a long list of things that make this the greatest country on earth. Anyone out there who has never talked politics on the job??? Didn't think so. I would bet that the complaints came from the party that LOST! But then, that's America.....Stay Safe....
    Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
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    Chief Earle W. Woods, 1912 - 1997
    Asst. Chief John R. Woods Sr. 1937 - 2006

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