Cleveland Fire Chief Receives Reprimand for Threatening Language

Cleveland Fire Chief Daryl McGinnis received a verbal reprimand for threatening to stab a firefighter in the neck for not wearing his fatigue shirt on duty, a dress code violation, reports The Cleveland Plain-Dealer.

Firefighter Phillip Leslie filed the complaint with the city’s public safety department after he and other firefighters complained about McGinnis’ threatening words in Station No. 10 on June 26.

Cleveland Safety Director Martin L. Flask found that McGinnis violated two Civil Service Rules violations — conduct unbecoming an employee in public service, and offensive conduct or language toward fellow employees.

Although the chief’s conduct may not have risen to the level of workplace violence, Flask said McGinnis’ comments were inappropriate — even if his intentions were not threatening, Flask wrote in a letter to McGinnis.

“I find your passion laudable and applaud your leadership,” Flask wrote. “However, your choice of words in this situation was totally inappropriate and detracted from the message you were attempting to convey which was to inspire the rank and file to be more cognizant to the divisions’ commitment to serve and protect the citizens of Cleveland.”

Flask concluded the letter by telling the fire chief that he expects future communications to be professional and without threat or intimidation…and that he was issuing McGinnis a verbal reprimand.

The Cleveland Fire Fighters Union called the reprimand a “slap on the wrist” and said the verbal warning was not strong enough punishment.

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