Montgomery County Fire Chief Cites 'Unacceptable' Behavior Toward Custodial Staff - NBC4 Washington

Montgomery County Fire Chief Cites 'Unacceptable' Behavior Toward Custodial Staff

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Montgomery County Fire Chief Cites Inappropriate Behavior

    Members of the Montgomery County fire department made inappropriate sexual comments to members of the custodial staff and shared their opinions about "diverse neighboring communities," the fire chief said. News4's Darcy Spencer reports. (Published Monday, Feb. 12, 2018)

    The chief of the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service says he has learned members of the department made vulgar sexual comments toward members of the custodial staff and shared their "personal opinions regarding DACA."

    In a strongly worded internal memo obtained by News4, Fire Chief Scott Goldstein described a number of inappropriate interactions between department employees and members of the contract custodial staff.

    According to the memo, these behaviors included: "flirtatious comments," "negative comments regarding diverse neighboring communities," "vulgar, inappropriate sexual comments" and "comments/personal opinions regarding DACA." 

    The comments have been made at multiple MCFRS worksites, the chief told News4. He did not say who reported the issue. 

    Fairfax Fire Chief Refuses to Step Down Amid Bias Complaints

    Fairfax Fire Chief Refuses to Step Down Amid Bias Complaints

    Amid reports of harassment, bullying and retaliation within the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department, Fire Chief Richard R. Bowers Jr. refused to step down and denied any problem. "There is not a major cultural issue in our department," he said. News4's Darcy Spencer reports.

    (Published Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018)

    "The folks who identified these issues did not desire to move forward with filing a complaint. I felt very significantly, as I still do here today, that these actions are inappropriate," he said. 

    The concerns were brought to the attention of Capt. David Kennedy of the fire department's Equal Employment Opportunity/Diversity Office. 

    "There was mention about certain things that were said to some of the workers," Kennedy said. "When they told me that, they said they didn't want to file a complaint, they just wanted it addressed."

    No disciplinary action will be taken against any firefighter. 

    Goldstein said he knows many MCFRS employees "welcome and support the custodial staff," but that "the inappropriate actions of a few destroy the work of many." 

    The news comes as the Fairfax County fire department faces repeated complaints of harassment, bullying and retaliation against women. Fire Chief Richard R. Bowers Jr. refused calls to step down and denied any problem.