The City of Providence just fired Captain Dennis Tucker, a 27 year veteran firefighter and officer. Insubordination says the city, as Captain Tucker refused to discipline his men for using contractually bargained for sick time, and sent an e-mail to headquarters defending his position after leaving work due to hypertension as documented by his PCP.
A fire officer is more of an Army Sargent than a Police Captain. With a three or four person crew, the Fire Captain needs to get dirty, and work alongside his people, stretching line, venting roofs, search and rescue. We joke that a Captain is an overpaid firefighter who gets to do the paperwork when the fires go out. Captains and Lieutenants live with their crews, scrub floors with them, clean toilets alongside them, save lives with them, and die for them, and with them. The fire department isn’t the police department, or the military, never was, never will be.
The City is going after Captain Tucker’s pension as well. Considering that we all pay 9 1/2 % into the pension fund every week, and the city consistently defers payment from the pension fund to meet other obligations, using our money to pay their salaries, it seems as though the wrong people are being fired.
The good guys will win this one, and they don’t come much more good than Captain Tucker. I think the tides have turned concerning the city vs firefighter drama, this latest flub by the Commishoner will be tha catalyst.
Stay tuned, more absurdity to come.