WHITE SPRINGS, Fla. — Seven members of the White Springs Fire Rescue, including Fire Chief Kevin Pittman, resigned at Tuesday night’s town meeting.
The resignations came after discussion at the December meeting in regards to Town Manager Stacy Tebo asking for Pittman’s resignation Nov. 29. Also during that meeting, members of the fire department asked for support in a vote of no confidence against Assistant Fire Chief Andrew Greene.
The council then decided to move the issues with the fire department to the January agenda.
During Tuesday’s meeting, Tebo submitted a Memorandum of Complaint against Pittman, providing each council member a copy.
Several citizens asked for a copy of the memo as well as Pittman, who said he had not seen or heard of the memo.
“This document was created today and was finished right before the meeting,” Tebo replied.
Pittman said: “Since it involves me I would like to be able to read through it.”
According to the memo, Tebo asked for Pittman’s resignation in order to avoid public embarrassment and keep disciplinary action out of his personnel file.
Tebo added that when she asked for Pittman’s resignation it was just as chief, that he could decide whether to remain as a volunteer firefighter.
In the memo, Tebo outlined the reasons that led to her decision to seek the resignation, mainly stemming around attempts to get certification for the town’s volunteer firefighters.
According to the memo, Pittman allegedly had told Tebo he was a certified instructor and with the help of another instructor would hold classes to provide certification for the firefighters.
Last summer, Tebo and Pittman had talked about recognizing everyone who earned their certifications publicly at a meeting, according to the memo. The recognition was rescheduled from June to July because not everyone had received their certificates. The recognition was held at the July 11 meeting.
However, Tebo states in the memo that she received a call from Hamilton County Emergency Management Director Henry Land on Aug. 2, stating one of the individuals was not certified and Pittman’s signature was not being accepted by the fire college.
Land offered Tebo assistance in getting students certified and could sign off on the certificates, according to the memo. Tebo told Pittman and he allegedly stated it would not be necessary.
In the memo, Tebo states she then looked further into Pittman’s previous employment and certifications where she found an expired instructors certification. It expired June 30, 2015, and was given a one-year extension to June 30, 2016.
While looking into his previous employment at Suwannee County Fire Rescue it shows he was terminated on July 12, 2012, and is stated on his resume that he worked with SCFR through July 2013.
“He was dishonest to me about his instructor certification,” Tebo wrote, adding “he was also dishonest on his resume.
“The integrity of the Town, the Council, and myself was compromised as we unwittingly participated in the deception.”
Also in the memo, Tebo documented issues surrounding the purchase of a fire truck from the Windsor Fire Department. The memo states that Pittman had spent money on repairs and decals for the truck prior to the council approving the agreement, also alleging that the repairs were done without her approval.
After given a chance to read through the memo and prior to the memo being read aloud at the meeting, Pittman resigned.
“I have been fired before and I have quit a lot of jobs, so effective right now you have my resignation as fire chief for this department,” Pittman said. “Tomorrow I will return the truck, personal items and the keys, my keys to the town.
“There is no point in going through this, this nothing but… crap. I’m just going to say it and I am not going to have my name put out there and walked on.”
Following Pittman’s resignation, six volunteer members of the department resigned as well.
“Hold on. We have moved on from the fire department, there’s no…” Mayor Rhett Bullard said before the six volunteers cut in stating: “Let’s just do this right then right now. If you’re going to move on, then we’re going to move on. My name is Thomas Brazil, I’m a Firefighter engineer for White Springs Fire Department and this is my resignation.”
Brazil was joined by Antonio Perez, William Register, Peter Shanks, Andy Stormant and Andrea Thompson in submitting their resignation, leaving nine members at the fire department as of Wednesday afternoon.