The City of Orlando is facing allegations of retaliation from several District Fire Chiefs following a recent federal lawsuit over unpaid overtime. According to the district chiefs, the city has announced wide-spread transfers among high-ranking city fire officers. The transfers will move several dozen Orlando Fire Department District and Assistant Chiefs to different shifts and stations. The district chiefs are questioning the timing of the highly unusual transfers, since their lawsuit was filed just over two months ago, and many of the district chiefs feared the city would retaliate when the lawsuit was first filed. The International Association of Firefighters released the following statement regarding the district chiefs’ allegations:
“There does not appear to be any operational need for these transfers. In addition, the timing of these transfers is especially unusual given that it will prevent many of the District Chiefs from utilizing their planned time off during the upcoming holidays in November and December. Finally, by implementing these transfers without input from the District Chiefs and the Orlando community, there are concerns that these transfers were retaliatory and only implemented because of the District Chiefs’ lawsuit. The IAFF is exploring all avenues of relief for its members and looks forward to hearing from the City of Orlando on this potential legal issue.”
The city counters that the transfers are intended to allow the district chiefs to gain more experience and will result in “enhanced customer service” and have nothing to do with the pending litigation. The city released the following statement regarding the transfers:
Orlando Fire management is committed to developing all District Chiefs in order to qualify for higher command, and to do so, the department allows for District Chiefs to gain experience in all areas of the fire service. These planned transfers were made to meet this objective and will allow OFD to continue its push to enhance customer service, promote personal development, ensure succession planning and strengthen the department.
Here is more on the lawsuit from FirefighterOvertime.org.
Click here, for more on the Chiefs’ retaliation claims from WFTV9, Orlando.