• Former Orlando fire chief claims innocence in resignation letter

    By: Shannon Butler , Chip Skambis

    Updated:

    ORLANDO, Fla. - The Orlando fire chief wrote a bitter letter Friday when he made his resignation official. 

    Orlando Fire Department Chief Rod Williams resigned in February, one day after 9 Investigates reported that a federal investigator determined that Williams sexually harassed, discriminated against and retaliated against the sole female assistant fire chief on his staff. Click here to watch the report.

    A city spokesperson said the now-former fire chief told the more than 500 men and women he led for four years that he has experienced injustice. 

    Williams' last day at OFD was Friday, but just before he left, he sent a three-page letter to the firefighters. 

    In it, he laid out his accomplishments over the last four years, like adding drug and alcohol testing to the department and launching a civilian medic transport program. 

    In the letter, he said, "I want you to know that I am innocent and have been falsely accused of what has been claimed." 

    He wrote some harsh words to the firefighters he once led, saying, "Through the actions of a vocal few, we are becoming more widely known to our citizens and policy makers as greedy, spoiled, entitled and unthankful." 

    He added this happens when "we abuse provisions and benefits like our sick leave, park our trucks in front of occupancies for simple convenience, mistreat and deal rudely with our customers." 

    He wrote he prays that firefighters start to have a deep respect for taxpayers. 

     

    EEOC investigation 

    According to a letter from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to the city of Orlando, the fire chief was not the only one found to have engaged in discriminatory behavior. 

    The letter states, "The evidence obtained by the commission supported charging party's allegations that she has been subjected to discriminatory harassment, conduct and differential treatment by both deputy chiefs." 

    The document does not name the deputy chiefs but in the city's investigation into Assistant Chief Dawn Sumter's claims, Sumter named Deputy Chief Gary Fussel and Ian Davis, saying they too harassed her and discriminated against her. 

    The city found the two did nothing wrong, and the city has made it clear, they are standing by that investigation -- but still the mayor said they would be disciplined. 

    Sumter also claimed that these two and others were promoted to deputy chief and she wasn't. 

    Deputy chief is an appointed position and the chief can pick who he wants. 

    Their future is uncertain as a new chief will soon be hired. 

    The city said it's working with the EEOC to see what training the deputy chiefs will have to take, but it's unclear if they will be demoted or suspended. 

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