Detroit’s fire administration continues to lash out at firefighters for speaking out about dangerously defective fire rigs and other serious safety issues as Mayor Mike Duggan continues to defend the top brass.
In a grammatically challenged letter to the Detroit Fire Firefighters Association on Wednesday, the chief of fire operations for the administration, John King, criticized union President Jeff Pegg for speaking to the media.
Pegg had defended firefighters whose new fire engine was taken by King in retaliation for expressing concerns about a deafening seatbelt alarm that made it impossible to hear radio transmissions. The firefighters were left with an old rig riddled with problems in northeast Detroit, where fire protection is the weakest. The fire administration has already suspended one of the firefighters without pay.
“I have put out more fires (figuratively and literally) then [sic] you will ever,” King wrote in a letter obtained by Motor City Muckraker. “My job, has always been to solve problems and find success where sometimes there is little hope; that should be your mantra.”
King also wrote: “I have in the past looked beyond some of the inconsistencies you have shown towards our members and this office, but the news report done on September 1, 2015 was disrespectful and an insult to all dues paying members of this Union,” King wrote in the letter, obtained by Motor City Muckraker. “You embarrassed the City of Detroit, The Detroit Fire Department and my Union. For you in your capacity, to go on camera and criticize actions of other members without any attempt to find out the other side, let alone the facts, including the ones YOU KNEW were false before the news cast, showed a total disregard for the position you were elected to serve.”
Mayor Mike Duggan has pressured union leaders to stay out of the media – one reason the union has been quiet in the face of so many problems. Fed up with the silence, many firefighters are calling for a change in union leadership later this year.
To read the King’s entire letter, click here.
Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.