Threat to Life and Limb Expressed in Facebook Posts
Yonkers City Hall Abdicates Responsibility to Employees’ and Residents’ Safety
A Hezitorial Telling
A Facebook posting by a Yonkers Firefighter came to Yonkers City Hall’s attention in February 2017. The posting was deemed “racist”. That Firefighter was within days admonished for his posting and docked 75 day’s pay.
Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano was quoted by spokeswoman Christina Gilmartin at that time as saying, “I’m outraged. This individual has discredited and disrespected our wonderfully diverse city and our Fire Fighters. He should be ashamed of himself.”
International Association Fire Fighters (IAFF) – Yonkers Local 628 President Barry McGoey advised that the alleged misconduct was a personnel matter and he could not comment on it at that time.
Yonkers Tribune has of late learned of an incident regarding another Yonkers Fire Fighter that seems to some extent analogous to the telling above.
The Yonkers Fire Fighter worked in a local Firehouse. When his Facebook postings were discovered and thereafter became known to Mayor Mike Spano, Yonkers Fire Commissioner Robert F. Sweeney, and I.A.F.F.-Local 628 President Barry McGoey it was agreed that the Firefighter would be moved off-the-line from his former Firehouse for additional vetting. While no one has specifically admitted to be aware of the incident which will be quoted further into this telling, each has permitted the clock to tick along for months’ time without any conduct on their part to dissuade a replication of such biased conduct by the same individual or among others who may be emboldened by what some have described as racial bias and hatred. Their collective silence puts into question their ethical standard in a city of diversity whose demographic transformation demands earnest sensitivity to the harm that may be exacerbated by their individual and collective bias. On the other hand, it may also be an opportunity to create a standard by which future situations and circumstances are uniformly judged and administered with equanimity rather than by political influence, connivance, and / or prejudicial outcome.
The anonymous FF (Fire Fighter), whose identity is kept under wraps by the Yonkers Tribune so as not to abridge his rights, wrote the following on his Facebook pages, since taken down: “Just waiting on the race war… a civil war should be coming anytime now within the next 3+ years… It can’t come soon enough.”
“^^^^ Its exactly what we need and choosing a side doesn’t include color, anyone is free to choose to side with his/her opposite color. Either way people need to be killed.”
Someone else commented to the above post by the anonymous FF that reads: “That is the most ignorant thing I have saw on FB (Facebook) in a while. You win the prize.”
To which the anonymous FF retorts: “Just as ignorant as your racist tag team.”
Continuing, the FF writes: “The USA has a lot of hate and we need a legally sanctioned war to allow both groups to kill as many participant from either group to come to a conclusion. The bloodier the better.”
The FF concludes by writing: “2 sides …with or against…either way kill or be killed even if its the guy who sleeps next to you.”
Editor-at-Large Note: The quotes taken from Facebook are replicated with every error that may or may not be recognized by the reader, e.g. spelling, grammar, etc. They are all posted as they were seen on Facebook.
The FF in question was taken out of Fire House 14 approximately two months ago and moved to the Yonkers Fire Headquarters. He has been assigned a job. He did not suffer any loss in pay, as did the first FF that had posted a bigoted posting on Facebook. And have Yonkers Police Officers so been admonished.
Which begs the question if their is a standard by which circumstances may be judged to conform. What are the set parameters and what punitive measure will be assigned? Or will medical attention be judged the prudent corse of action commensurate to the issue in question so as to mitigate drug use, steroidal use, opiodal use, inebriation, what have you. Will attention, study, or retraining be prudent and affective?
It would seem a two-month evaluation is prolonged, but it is not known by Yonkers Tribune if there are mitigating issues that have caused the evaluation process to take this long.
This most recent case may have extenuating circumstances for its duration. While protective of the individual who wrote what he did on Facebook, and being removed from his Firehouse so as to permit his fellow Firefighter’s from fearing for their lives when asleep, does the bias against fellow Firefighters likewise extend to the general populace? Will the FF be OK among the general public? Psychological evaluation and final determination must be concluded. The sooner the better. Let us not forget that the City of Yonkers will be held responsible by a public who may seek litigious action should the individual in question mentioned herein cannot maintain his composure among those he may pursue a “race war”.
A call to Fire Commissioner Robert F. Sweeney did not gain a callback? A call to Yonkers City Hall received no reasonable response. Yonkers Local 628 President Barry McGoey was not contacted knowing that this issue is a personnel issue to which he cannot respond because the issue at hand is still in the process of evaluation.
There were individuals who know who they are that have afforded this reporter some salient issues to which I became more sensitive and thereby more balanced in this telling. Were more in Yonkers willing to take that one chance to communicate, we may all reach greater respect for one another, an elevated outcome to issues of visceral concern, as well as a learned discourse among a community wanting acknowledgment of the roads they travelled.
The takeaway is quite simple. Standards of conduct must be devised that gives every individual who works for the City of Yonkers a delineated and defined protocol that defines what is expected of them, how they must conduct themselves, the dress codes that they must adhere, what is permissible to be expressed and what is not, as well as knowing what repercussions will be suffered if not adhering to the culture and expectations of those employed. These standards must be codified so as to weed out those who do not abide by the standards to which they are expect to conform.
The last question is how much more time can be risked to evaluate how much long before this issue is resolved? And if Yonkeristes will ever learn the outcome even without knowing the name of the FF in question. The individual is not in question as he suffers his own demons. At issue is whether this telling will bring about a lesson or lessons from which all Yonkersites may grow a better future.