At the December 12th meeting, the firefighters had approached councilors on their way to the meeting to protest the firing of Kevin Pittman. Mr. Pittman did not attend the meeting. Rhett Bullard pretended that he knew nothing about the request to remove Kevin Pittman as fire Chief and made no admission. Walter McKenzie warned the council that if we remove Mr. Pittman without a fair hearing, we will no longer have a fire department. Currently under Kevin Pittman as Fire Chief we have had more volunteers who are certified and who have protected White Springs and the surrounding area as no other town has had.
On behalf of all the Firefighters, one firefighter read the following to the Town Council in the December meeting:
WHITE SPRINGS FIRE RESCUE December 12, 2017 VOTE OF NO CONFIDENCE
We, the members of the White Springs Fire Rescue, have composed this letter to express our dissatisfaction with the current Assistant Chief, Joseph Andrew Greene. Unfortunately circumstances have left us with no other recourse. We have lost all trust, faith and confidence in Assistant Greene’s ability to lead this department
Asst. Chief Greene’s lack of dedication and inability to perform his duties in a timely fashion has damaged the department’s performance. These problematic tendencies are very crucial in a field where mistakes and divisive behavior can cost department members and citizens their lives. He has not upheld his position or responsibility to the Department and has not attended any department trainings, functions nor Station shifts since April 29, 2017. Records show since July 1, 2017 a total of (51) responses have been required in and around White Springs. Chief Pittman has responded to (35) of those calls. Firefighter Brazil has responded to (29) calls, Firefighter’s Perez and Register have responded to (27), Greene has only responded to (7). Other members of the department who are not able to reach the station in an adequate response time are often performing shifts and duties at the fire station on their days off from full time employment. The only shift Greene has participated in was a contractual paid event. During that shift, both he and member Dominique Greene were dismissed from their duties for inappropriate behavior and misconduct within a patient care area.
His lack of leadership, mismanagement and poor policy decisions have damaged the relationships within the department. In June of 2017, Chief Pittman met with the Town Manager, Stacy Tebo, on behalf of the department to discuss Assistant Chief Greene’s lack of communication and his deliberate avoidance of training and department procedures. Attempts to address workplace problems with Assistant Greene have gone unheeded by the Town Manager regardless of the number of complaints.
During Hurricane Irma, several members were present at the station for up to (72) hours each to perform their needed services due to the catastrophic impact of the storm. Greene, who is also the town Utilities Director, was not present to fulfill his duties in public works and the fire department, before or during Irma. No contact was maintained with the department during this time and several individual members were approached by contractors, city employees and citizens attempting to contact Greene. This was a major devaluation of Greene’s dedication to the department, as Chief Pittman was present for the entirety of the storm including preparations and cleanup efforts alongside other responders, maintaining clear communication with all members.
Greene refuses to address issues presented to him by department members, answering inquiries in a dismissive manner showing disregard to the chain of command and the need of the department. When approached by department personnel regarding essential firefighting equipment needing repair or replacement, he deflects questions and says “I do not have to explain myself”. In other confrontations, he has told members that Town Manager Tebo has not allotted any budget for the department’s frivolous spending” and the equipment shall have to suffice, even though we must stress that the difference between life and death for firefighters is the degree of functioning equipment they possess.
With (8) certified Firefighter One members and (2) Firefighter Two members in the department with only (3) functioning air packs, this places all members in dangerous situations. Greene’s lack of care for the issue shows his total disregard for department members. He does not show respect to the livelihood or wellbeing of the firefighter’s safety.
In October, Assistant Chief Greene and Town Manager Tebo removed personnel access to the station’s computers required for reporting runs and other necessary information. Taboo’s memo claimed that Greene would be taking full responsibility for the logging of paperwork and the running of reports. Since this was enacted, Green has not performed his duties in a timely manner, often requiring members to tape reports, receipts and requests to his office door. This attitude of poor management has shown distrust with his refusal to communicate properly.
We feel that the relationship with Assistant Chief Green is irreparable. He has brought morale to an all-time low with his lack of leadership and poor management style. Greene has established a pattern and practice of inequitable treatment of department personnel. A bad manager can take a functioning staff and destroy it by causing the best employees to leave the Department and those which remain to lose all motivation.
In closing, we would like to reiterate one last time that the members of White Springs Fire Rescue have lost all trust and faith in Assistant Chief Andrew Greene’s ability to lead this Department. We therefore, respectively ask that you support our VOTE OF NO CONFIDENCE and relieve Assistant Chief Greene of his duties and responsibilities pertaining to the Fire Department.
The Members of White Springs Fire Rescue
End of Letter