Two top Pensacola fire officials let go
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WEAR Mayor Hayward announced Tuesday, May 10, the release of two top Pensacola fire officials.
Matt Schmitt and Joe Glover have been dismissed from their employment with the city due to a loss of confidence in their ability to lead the Pensacola Fire Department.
The decision followed an investigation into the facts and circumstances surrounding fire department management practices.
"What hurts the most is the affect it has on my family, because you can't buy a good name," Grover said.
After reviewing the investigation, Mayor Hayward determined that the findings were sufficient to warrant the dismissal of both individuals.
Mayor Hayward said, "These are never easy decisions to make but I have the responsibility to ensure that the men and women of the Fire Department have leaders that can bring out the best in them and in the department. I believe that my decision is a step in that direction."
The investigation was conducted by an outside lawfirm hired by the city. The report included transcripts of recorded interviews with the top two fire officials and members of their department.
The investigation spawned after the men were accused of improper hiring practices and retaliation.
The investigation report is more than 100 pages long. It goes into great detail on the accusations made by the city officials against Schmitt and Grover.
The former heads of the Pensacola Fire Department were accused of failing to follow normal hiring practices in January 2016, for the hiring of new firefighters.
The report states applicants were not interviewed, scored or ranked, by an interview panel of firefighters as required.
Schmitt and Glover conducted the interviews alone, when the city's human resources department should have been involved.
The investigation also uncovered Schmitt and Glover's distorted view that it's appropriate to severely discipline firefighters for criticizing them.
In August 2015, Lieutenant Edward Deas complained to Schmitt about Glover.
Deas was demoted, but that decision was overturned by city administrator Eric Olson.
The investigation said Schmitt and Glover retaliated against Deas and concocted a false premise that he failed to follow chain of command.
The report stated that the men intentionally violated city policy in the way they handled a firefighter complaint and created a hostile workplace culture.
Mayor Hayward said, "It's very difficult as "the boss" to make decisions like this. There are substantial facts in the report that made it for me; easier than I anticipated."
Glover had previously filed a federal complaint against the city for pay discrimination. He maintains that's why the city launched this investigation.
"This whole thing was about harassment and retaliation and I got plenty of evidence to prove it, the mayor himself is part of that retaliation," Grover said.
Hayward responded saying, "Is this retaliation? Absolutely not, that's not correct. Mr. Grover has been promoted since I was mayor, he's had pay raises, completely two different issues."
Glover said he will be speaking with his attorneys about a possible lawsuit against the city, so this is not over yet.
After Schmitt and Glover were fired, Hayward appointed David Allen as Fire Chief. David has been with the Pensacola Fire Department for 28 years and currently serves as Acting Interim Fire Chief.
His appointment will be presented to the city council for consent at the June council meeting.
Here are the 35 documents from the investigative report submitted by the City of Pensacola:
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