Archive for Monday, July 25, 2011

Union president wants Lawrence fire Chief Mark Bradford removed from internal and external investigations of firefighters

July 25, 2011


Lawrence Fire Chief Mark Bradford.

Lawrence Fire Chief Mark Bradford.

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.


james bush 6 years, 9 months ago

Afterall, the union president should run the department.....that's why the union members elected him, regardless of who pays the salaries..........

Jay Lovett 6 years, 9 months ago

This Bradford fool is on our school board also! Get him outta town! He is a great example of how a city position has been taken over by an individual solely concerned with himself, furthering his political career and promoting his agenda. Firing people he doesn't get along with and making sure he's on camera in all his fireman gear to take credit for work he's not doing-push for another school to close you bum!

1southernjayhawk 6 years, 9 months ago

Do you actually know anything that can add to our understanding of this issue or are you just displaying your IQ.

Bob Forer 6 years, 9 months ago

I met the guy once, and frankly, I didn't care for him.

Steve Jacob 6 years, 9 months ago

While I don't think he should be the one investigating, he sure has the sole authority to fire someone with cause.

devobrun 6 years, 9 months ago

Have you ever noticed that "personnel matters" are confidential and thus protect the individual concerned?

Except that public officials can hide behind those good intentions to fire people without scrutiny. If the nondisclosure protects the might also provide the avenue to hurt the individual.

Is this a union action? Maybe this is a lawsuit by the individual. Unless the individual files the lawsuit, we'll never know. What advice is this fired individual getting now? Stay tuned for the next episode of reality TV.

guess_again 6 years, 9 months ago

Good point. But the individuals who believe they are aggrieved, also have the right to waive their rights of privacy. They need to be prepared to "open the whole Kimono" and discuss their case in public if they want us to take seriously their charges of mismanagement.

guess_again 6 years, 9 months ago

Isn't this the union which accused Corliss as being racist for an unfortunate misstatement he made?

Whether you like or dislike the work of Corliss, it was asinine to attack him personally by playing the race card against him.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 9 months ago

Too much teflon cannot be good = corruption

Richard Heckler 6 years, 9 months ago

This might be a serious conflict of interest situation?

Why should Mark Bradford care? if he is removed?

exlion 6 years, 8 months ago

bradford is pushing for open enrollment for all addresses west of wakarusa. wonder why only these people should get to choose their high school?

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