Deal Gets Florida Firefighter $500K to Not Work


Daytona Beach just cut a deal with a firefighter that would give her more than a half-million dollars, and she never has to show up for work again, WFTV learned Thursday.

City leaders also gave her a raise and a promotion. All this because the firefighter said she was unfairly demoted, because she's a woman. She's not even allowed to go to a fire station.

Daytona is going to have a deputy fire chief -second in command- who won't be allowed to stand on city property at the fire department. Her $99,000-a-year new job is basically to stay away from there for the next three years.

Lt. soon to be deputy chief, Kris Gray, could make millions of dollars and never have to work as a Daytona Beach firefighter again.

After a massive fire in Daytona Beach two years ago, Gray was accused of mismanaging the incident and was demoted as a result. She responded with complaints to the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission and Florida Human Relations Commission that the demotion was based on her sex.

In a nine-page deal worked out this week, Gray agreed to drop charges in return for a promotion, a raise and to be on leave until she retires in three years.

"I would like to know why she's not working. If I'm going to pay you to work for me, you're going to work," resident Reggie Johnson said.

WFTV went to City Hall to try to ask city leaders that question. No one would agree to an interview, citing the seven days Gray has to back out of the deal.

In phone calls with four commissioners, WFTV argued the agreement was public.

"I think you should have the right to and the ability to justify your vote," Johnson said.

But no elected officials would comment. The raise Gray gets will increase her pension to about $70,000 a year. Only in her 40s, if Gray collects that for the next 25 years, it adds up to $1.75 million.

The Daytona Beach Fire Department has 122 firefighters and only six are women.

The city opened no investigations into any firefighters as a result of Gray's claims of discrimination. During the entire process, Gray has been working her normal shift at the fire department.

Her resignation letter, however, is already written up and takes affect in 2014.

Gray will also walk away with a recommendation letter in case she wants to work somewhere else.

Gray's attorney had to agree not to represent another female firefighter, who had also complained to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission about her treatment in Daytona Beach.

Documents reveal Lorraine Becker is another female firefighter who has complained about working conditions with the Daytona Beach Fire Department. But the city is trying to make sure she doesn't get the same deal Gray received.

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