The president of the Lawrence firefighters union has written a letter asking city leaders to remove Lawrence Douglas County Fire Medical Chief Mark Bradford as sole authority in investigations of internal and external complaints filed against department members.
According to the letter, Lt. Kathy Elkins, president of the International Association of Firefighters Local 1596, made the requests and referenced how Bradford allegedly handled an investigation and discipline of a department member. The letter did not identify the firefighter or include details about the allegation. It only referenced an incident that occurred June 1.
“We find that you misrepresented facts in this case and knowingly made false statements in reference to the incident and the investigation,” Elkins wrote. “Because of this, we contend that you corrupted the investigation and knowingly terminated a member of our department based on these untruths.”
Other details mentioned in a letter to city leaders from the Lawrence Firefighters Union
Here Are Other Details Mentioned in a Letter to city Leaders from the Lawrence Firefighters Union
In a letter dated June 29 Lt. Kathy Elkins, president of the International Association of Firefighters Local 1596, said the union desired to remove Lawrence Douglas County Fire Medical Chief Mark Bradford as sole authority to investigate internal and external complaints against fire personnel.
According to the letter, the union was also seeking:
• The city’s human resources department or City Manager David Corliss to have oversight of all disciplinary actions.
• The immediate removal of department’s standard operating procedure entitled “Investigation of Complaints.”
• The drafting and approval of an investigation and disciplinary action policy for the department mutually agreed upon by the union and Corliss.
• A written explanation from Bradford and an apology to the department’s members in reference to how he allegedly handled discipline of a department member in connection with a June 1 incident, which was not specified in detail.
Elkins also wrote in the letter that by a unanimous vote of members, the union was initiating step one of a grievance process against Bradford and that the union would be monitoring any attempts to retaliate against firefighters.
But Elkins and Toni Wheeler, the city’s director of legal services, said Monday the allegations were being treated as a complaint, such as when someone raises an issue regarding a city staff person, instead of a grievance brought by a union.
“The allegations in the letter concern an investigation of a personnel matter,” Wheeler said. “The city as a standard practice does not comment on personnel matters.”
Bradford when reached Monday by phone referred questions to Wheeler.
Elkins on Monday declined to provide more details about the allegations saying City Manager David Corliss’ office was still conducting an investigation.
“We’re trying to work through the process and work with the city and try to get this resolved,” she said.
Elkins and Wheeler also declined comment Monday when asked if the firefighter referenced in the letter had been reinstated.