9 Investigates

Federal agency recommends city of Orlando pay former assistant fire chief thousands

ORLANDO, Fla. — A federal agency has recommended that the city of Orlando pay a former assistant fire chief thousands of dollars after it determined that the Orlando Fire Department's now-former chief sexually harassed, retaliated against and discriminated against her.

Sources told 9 Investigates' Shannon Butler that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sent the city a list of recommendations last month.

The city said Tuesday that staff members have requested more time to determine what must be done and by when. It is unknown how much the changes will cost taxpayers.


Former Orlando fire Chief Roderick Williams resigned after the EEOC sent the city a letter saying that it found that he sexually harassed, retaliated against and discriminated against former Orlando fire Assistant Chief Dawn Sumter.

The city sent the EEOC a response, saying that its own investigation determined that there were no factual findings behind the allegations.

The city said it stands by its investigation, clearing Williams and others of wrongdoing.

Sources told 9 Investigates that the EEOC recommended that Sumter should have the opportunity to be considered for promotion to deputy chief, a position for which she said she was passed up.

The agency said Williams and two deputy chiefs accused of retaliating against Sumter owe her a public apology, sources said.

The EEOC's investigation determined that employees, including the director of the city's human resources department, need more training.

Once the city and the EEOC agree on a list of changes, a federal investigator will, for three years, monitor any other EEOC complaints filed against the two deputy chiefs named in the report, who remain employed by the Orlando Fire Department.

The amount of financial compensation to which Sumter is entitled has not been determined. Mediation is likely, and a lawsuit has not been ruled out.

The U.S. Department of Justice could help Sumter with a lawsuit against the city if it does not respond to the EEOC's letter.