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Drinking On the Job Aside, Investigation Finds a Broken Flagler Beach Fire Department

| February 7, 2013

At cross-purposes. (© FlaglerLive)

At cross-purposes. (© FlaglerLive)

An independent investigation into allegations of drinking, driving and firefighting under the influence of alcohol at the Flagler Beach Fire Department concludes with a scathing indictment against not only the four firefighters involved, including Fire Chief Martin Roberts, but against virtually the entire department.

The investigation sustains allegations that the firefighters and the chief drank on the job. His future with the city is seriously in doubt for two reasons: this is only the second serious breach of authority in six months, though it is far more serious than last spring and summer’s incident, when Roberts took out-of-town trips on behalf of the fire department that the city manager had not authorized.

But more critically for the department and the city as a whole, the investigative report reveals a severely dysfunctional fire department: it is divided by two cliques that appear to be at war with each other and causing “a high degree of intra-departmental discord.” The department is lacking in clear lines of authority in the chief and assistant chief’s absence. And it is riven by allegations and counter-allegations between firefighters, some possibly vindictive, others driven more by concern for the department. Among those is the potential falsification of records by Bobby Pace, the current acting chief. The investigation reveals that Pace is being investigated internally over the record falsification charge.

The investigation also and incidentally reveals that a Flagler County Sheriff’s lieutenant, Greg Weston, had cooked a home-made, 100-proof alcoholic brew similar to, but not quite, moonshine, and sold it to to Jacob Bissonnette, one of Flagler Beach’s firefighters, in the station’s parking lot.

The investigation, conducted by Daniel Langley of Fishback Dominick, a Winter Park law firm, and concluded on Jan. 31, centers on Roberts, Assistant Chief Shane Wood, Captain Steve Wood (Shane’s father), and Jacob Bissonnette. It finds that all four broke the city’s zero-tolerance policy on drinking. Roberts and Steve Wood did so, according to the findings, by drinking at a party then responding to a fire, and driving city-owned equipment, including a tower truck in Wood’s case. Roberts also violated a city ordinance by authorizing Wood to respond to the fire. Bissonnette and Shane Wood were found in violation for having possessed alcohol at the fire station, “on city compensated time,” and drinking there. All four were found to conduct themselves in a way “unbecoming” of their position.

Flagler Beach Fire Chief Martin Roberts (© FlaglerLive)

Flagler Beach Fire Chief Martin Roberts
(© FlaglerLive)

All four will appear before Campbell in four individual pre-disciplinary hearings Friday, when they can present evidence of their own. “Based on the findings of the investigator,” Campbell wrote each of the four on Wednesday, “I am considering potential disciplinary action up to and including termination of your employment.”

Roberts makes $70,779. Shane Wood makes $47,611. Bissonnette and Bobby Pace, $33,606, and Steve Wood, as a sanitation employee, makes $31,080.

Members of the Flagler Beach City Commission are gladly staying out of the fray, calling it Campbell’s purview, as it involves personnel matters that commissioners are not, by charter, allowed to interfere with.

One of the key aspect of the investigation is incidental to its original purpose. “There is a high degree of intra-department discord between several full-time employees of the Fire Department,” the investigation found. “There are generally two cliques or factions within the Fire Department’s full time employment ranks — faction 1 — Shane Wood and Jacob Bissonnette, and faction 2 —Bobby Pace, Dusty Snyder, David Kennedy and Stephen Cox. []The intra-department discord described herein is a major problem affecting the operations of the Fire Department, and such shows a lack of organizational control within the Fire Department.”


The factionalism may have had something to do with the leveling of charges. The investigator explains: “The faction 2 group generally believes that Chief Roberts shows favoritism to faction 1-Shane Wood and Jacob Bissonnette, along with Department volunteers, Steve Wood and Diane Wood, Shane Wood’s father and mother. The faction I group — which are the subject of this investigation believe that the faction 2 group submitted the allegations to City management that are the subject of this investigation in an attempt to get Chief Roberts, Steve Wood, Shane Wood and Jacob Bissonnette terminated so that the members of faction 2 receive promotions to Chief (Bobby Pace) and to three newly created lieutenant positions (Dustin Snyder, David Kennedy and Stephen Cox).”

Enter the allegations against Pace: “Faction I members assert that before the alcohol-related allegations were raised against them, (i) Bobby Pace was being investigated by Jacob Bissonnette at Chief Robert’s instruction for potentially falsifying time sheets of an individual on probation serving community service, (ii) Jacob Bissonnette gave Bobby Pace a heads-up warning about the investigation which angered Bobby Pace, and (iii) thereafter, Bobby Pace marshaled faction 2 members and certain volunteer firefighters to submit written allegations to City management over the head of Chief Roberts in order to avoid potential punishment for the alleged falsification of records and to obtain a promotion.”

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Roberts, meanwhile, claimed to the investigator that the charges against him originated with Campbell, as retaliation, because Roberts had filed an age-discrimination claim against the city last year. That age-discrimination claim was found to have no merit by an investigator in late August.

But the investigator sees no connection between the Pace matter and the suspensions over the alcohol allegations. “Chief Roberts,” the findings continue, “testified he and Jacob Bissonnette first learned of the potential falsification of records by Bobby Pace on January 2, 2013 from a person with the Flagler County Probation Office who called the fire station to inquire about the time sheets of a community service worker who performed work at fire station. January 2, 2013 is just two days prior to the four accused being placed on suspension by the City Manager pending the results of the investigation. By that date, City management had already received allegations against Chief Roberts, Steve Wood, Shane Wood and Jacob Bissonnette. […] So, it appears implausible for the allegations against Bobby Pace […] to be ill-motive for bringing the allegations against Chief Roberts, Steve Wood, Shane Wood and Jacob Bissonnette.”

Rather, those who instigated the issue of alcohol consumption were collectively, David Kennedy, Dustin Snyder, Stephen Cox and volunteer Ray Turish. “It appears that these individuals were genuinely concerned about the health and safety issues involved and the reputation of the Fire Department,” the investigator found.

On Dec. 14, the fire department held its Christmas party at Friends Café, a short walk from the fire station, at 220 South Flagler Beach Avenue, starting at 6 p.m. The café, which closes at 2 p.m., was closed to the public. It doesn’t serve alcohol, but it was understood that the party was a bring-your-own-alcohol event. The Flagler Beach Volunteer Firemen’s Association organized the party, including a disc jockey, food and non-alcoholic drinks, while the café catered it. Husband-and-wife Steve and Diane Wood also organized it.

David Kennedy, shift leader for Shift C, the shift covering evening hours (and the hours of the party), told four firefighters on duty that evening that if they intended to go to the party, they had to change out of uniform, and if they intended to drink alcohol, they could not return to work for that shift. Earlier that day, Kennedy saw Steve Wood filling a beer cooler with ice (the cooler had beer in it), in preparation for the party. The investigation findings then go into detail about who saw who drinking, and where, and how much. Shane Wood was not on duty that evening, nor did he respond to the fire later on. What drinking he may have done at the party would not be a violation of policies.

Steve Wood claimed to the investigator that he only drank non-alcoholic beer, because of a health condition. The investigator does not believe him, citing six eyewitnesses to say that Wood drank regular beer and sipped moonshine. Wood, at any rate, had admitted to Campbell and Libby Kania, the city’s human resources director, that he had drank beer, and was placed on administrative leave on Jan. 4. The investigator goes so far as to say that even non-alcoholic beer contains 0.5 percent alcohol which, compounded over five drinks, “would still place a small amount of alcohol in Wood’s system before responding to a fire emergency in a large and heavy aerial truck.” Wood drove the city’s Tower 11 truck to the scene of the fire on North Ocean Shore Boulevard.

The investigator adds: “Several witnesses expressed that given the relatively small size of the interior of Friends Café and Chief Roberts’ proximity to Steve Wood during the Christmas party, there is no way Chief Roberts did not see Steve Wood drinking alcohol that evening.”

The detail is relevant because it goes directly to Roberts’s leadership and judgment, since Roberts assigned Wood to the fire. Wood testified that Roberts admonished him in days following the party, after the chief got complaints from other firefighters.

Roberts’s own consumption of alcohol is also documented, but notes that amounts involved are by no means excessive: “From the credible testimony received,” the report states, “the amount of wine consumed by Chief Roberts appears to be of a normal amount for a reasonable person enjoying wine with dinner.” Roberts himself claims he was told that the wine was non-alcoholic, and that what cherry he ate was not soaked in alcohol, claims the investigator doesn’t buy.

The fire broke out at 9:40 p.m. David Kennedy told the chief not to let anyone who’d been at the party respond to the fire. “Chief Roberts ignored such sound advice,” the report states emphatically. “The events of December 14, 2012 show poor judgment by Chief Roberts and evidence of a lack of organizational control within the fire department.”

The fire was actually fought and put out effectively and swiftly, even though at one point firefighters had to contend with a dry hydrant. The three-level structure sustained damage that was localized to the top two floors, and to only a corner of the structure. A FlaglerLive reporter was at the scene. Notably, however, a request was made by way of a sheriff’s deputy to speak with Roberts once the scene was under control. In every previous incidents involving the fire department, Roberts has made himself readily available. On Dec. 14, however, a reporter waited more than an hour after the fire was out to speak with him. Roberts did not make himself available, though he did so by phone and in detail in following days.

Matters involving Shane Wood and Jake Bissonnette do not involve drinking on the job or on duty, so much as having alcohol on fire department premises at the station, and doing so on duty. The afternoon of Christmas eve, Bissonnette bought “faux-moonshine” from Flagler County Sheriff’s Lt. Greg Weston, who was off duty and out of uniform at the time. It was “an alcoholic beverage that Lt. Weston mixed and boiled down at home using 100 proof grain alcohol purchased at a retail store,” with sugar and other store-bought ingredients. “Thus the alcohol at issue concerning the allegations against Shane Wood and Jacob Bissonnette is not moonshine; more like a homemade cocktail or alcoholic mixture.”

Bissonnette bought two jars for $10 and stored them in a fridge at the station. Both Bissonnette and Shane Wood were on duty at the time of the transaction. The next day, Pace and Dustin Snyder discovered the jars. A little after 8 a.m. that day, after the shift-change (at which point Bissonnette and Shane Wood were no longer on duty, but still at the station), they reportedly took a sip from the jars before taking the jars home. Those events, the report concludes regarding Wood and Bissonnette, “show further evidence of the lack of organizational control within the department.”

[Correction: An earlier version of this story had reported that Chief Roberts had drank five beers at the Christmas party on Dec. 14, which was incorrect. We regret the error.]

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47 Responses for “Drinking On the Job Aside, Investigation Finds a Broken Flagler Beach Fire Department”

  1. Outsider says:

    It sounds like it’s time to fire Andy, Barney, and Opey and hire some genuinely dedicated professionals. There is no excuse for alcohol to be anywhere on public property, and certainly not at a firehouse. Responding to a fire call after drinking is inexcusable.

  2. Flagler Citizen says:

    “The department is lacking clear lines of authority in the chiefs and assistant chief’s absence”. This statement definitely needs clarification by Flagler Live as it has been publicly stated that Bobby Pace is the acting Chief at this point. Where are the lines of authority “lacking”?

    [We’re reporting the investigator’s findings.–FL]

  3. Hi Yall says:

    This is real country bumpkin stuff ain’t [it].

    Tis the Southern way. Dissension in the ranks. No wonder they lost the Civil War?

  4. Dudley Doright says:

    It would appear that the Flagler Beach Fire Department needs to go away! This organization is nothing more than a blight on the city. What a cesspool of misfits from the chief on down!

  5. Umm says:

    I’m a huge FBFD advocate, but in light of recent events, perhaps everyone would be better off if the county just came in, took over, and restored order.

  6. Fact says:

    @dudley- I wouldnt say a cesspool of misfits, you have 4 people that clearly made bad decsions! These things unfortunatley take place outside of Flagler as well, so you cant condemn the whole department as they are actually the ones that brought this up knowing that behavior as such is unacceptable! This matter is being delt w/ how it should be and you still have dedicated and good people working there! Give them a chance to prove themselves, cant get any worse!

  7. Roy Johnson says:

    Actually you should be proud of our Department, I am. The people that came forward did so knowing there was a high probability they might get fired and lose their jobs. They were also fully aware of how it would look in the media and unlike the members who were suspended during the investigation, they had to respond to calls and wear the uniform marred by the actions of others. They got the funny looks, the snide comments, and will continue to do so apparently. The easy and safe thing would have been to keep quiet and if they would have done so none of this would have ever come out.

    You think they did all that because they “might get promotions”? Come on… there are politics and “factions” in every department and every workplace. As the investigator himself put in the report is that regardless of their motives, it does not change THE FACTS of what happened… wrong is still wrong.

    They took all of that risk and the burden that came with it because like they do everyday on calls, put your well being ahead of their own. Now they get to read all the comments about how our department needs to “go away”.

    As for the members involved, they are not bad people. They were not too drunk to drive legally but had no business in an emergency vehicle that night. They were not “misfits” who were drunk at work all the time… but they should have never had alcohol at the station.

    The bottom line is that they made a bad choice and as public servants probably won’t get a “do over” like others might. They all made a big difference in people’s lives over many years of service, saved and helped many who couldn’t help themselves but they are human and not perfect. We are all held to a higher standard as we should be. What they did was wrong and they will all have to answer for their actions but lets keep some perspective here.

  8. Really? says:

    Omg. Sounds like the county definitely needs to take over the fire department AND police department! The Flagler Police department’s supervisors were there as city ordinances were violated and did NOTHING! If there is no investigation into that then I personally will call for the police cheif’s and the city manager’s removal at the next meeting!! I for one am tired of paying taxes for these departments when there is no oversight. . Also, isn’t it illegal to sell alcoholic beverages without a liquor license?? Sounds like the Sheriff’s Office better suspend the officer involved and investigate how many ordinances and laws he broke. It is obvious that he broke a few and even though he was off duty he still is a law enforcement officer who violated the law. I thought this new Sheriff was going to clean up that department. Guess not…

  9. Really says:

    The sgt from Flagler Beach Police Department sat there and watched as an off duty Sheriff’s lieutenant SOLD alcohol on city property to on duty firefighters??!! Omg the FBPD and Sheriff’s LT. should immediately be suspended as multiple city ordinances and a few state and federal laws were broken. Why has the FBPD chief not taken action?? Because he is lazy. Ps it is unlawful under Florida statute to sell any alcohol without a license….

  10. Just wondering... says:

    Time to get to rid of the stains in the Flagler Beach Dept and let the county come in and clean things up to better serve the citizens of Flagler Beach!!

  11. Why says:

    The Sheriff Deputy who sold the beverage in the mason jar on city property needs to be investigated and prosecuted. What’s fair is fair these men going through this aren’t alone and shouldn’t be punished alone. Only a fair and complete investigation should be accepted and acted upon.

  12. flaglerfirefighter says:

    I agree Money would be saved and it would be run professionally if Flagler County fire took over.

  13. madirishman says:

    Interesting….during the fire on 12/14 a sheriff’s deputy was on scene but Kennedy never asked to have Roberts or Woods checked out by this deputy? If the charges are true as Kennedy testifies, it would be his poor decision making as well that put his own safety, as well as the other firefighters on scene AND the general public in danger.
    And what about Pace falsifying court records, and now he’s acting chief? Why is he not on administrative leave pending an investigation? The 4 accused are being judged for breaking department rules, Pace is accused of falsifying court records, a felony. Pace also has a DUI and Open Container violations on his record in Volusia County and he gets to play chief?
    As for Wood and Bissonnette it seems a poor judgment issue that they honestly admit to. If only the city manager had just asked them at the beginning he might have saved the city a substantial portion of the more than $15,000 of the taxpayer dollars spent. They honestly admitted to poor judgment to take a small amount of alcohol, on Christmas Eve no less, and the next day before leaving the station while OFF duty they TASTED the liquid and then removed it from the premises. It actually seems to me that they are the only ones being 100% honest.
    One last thing Flagler Beach, how much firefighting experience is now at your station? 1 unqualified acting chief and 6 relative newbe’s!…..Sleep well.

  14. Palmcoastconcernedcitizen says:

    All that are calling for Flagler County to come in and take over, really need to evaluate what is happening in the Flagler County FD. Just because mistakes happened does not mean a whole department should be disbanned. Also for those that are calling for the investgation into the Flagler Beach PD, what? In most places PD does not do code enforcement, code enforcement does. I am not sure if this is what happens in FB but really investigate the PD because of fire department issue. Flagler Beach needs a new fire chef that will come in and make this department, the department it can be!!!

  15. Brian says:

    The county has bad apples too. Everyone does. The city just needs to get rid of thiers. I personally ask all of you who “bash” the city FD to stop in there and speak with them. The city has some very well trained profesional firefighters who you should be proud of. But I know you wont because you are afraid and then will have nothing to bitch about.

  16. Flagler Citizen says:

    The day the county takes over the FB Fire Dept, is the day we should all pick up and move. You don’t think they have cliques and problems like every organization? Not one comment to date has even suggested any concern on any citizens behalf that they feel less safe or that their safety does not remain the top priority for the mebers of the FBFD, both paid and volunteer members. As the old saying goes, “This too shall pass.”

  17. Right is right! says:

    I agree with Outsider’s comments. Drinking in a fire station is wrong and “responding to a fire call after drinking is inexcusable.” Also people need to give Robert Pace a chance to prove himself . Robert is a truly dedicated professional!

  18. Followmoneysaved says:

    Followmoneysaved says:
    Instead of investing (cash overhead-debt) in parking meter equipment, installation cost, meter maid labor, admin cost; in adition to, the Fantastic Fourth of July take over for a total gain of APPROXIMATELY $7,000/yr., why not switch to County Personnel Management of the Flagler Beach Fire Station and SAVE TEN TO TWENTY THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS PER YEAR? At this point in time, the total process is better for city staff, quality fire personnel working environment, city chamber operations, sustainability, and, of course more PROFITS for Mr. Campbell. Engage and execute!

  19. Jason says:

    Those without sin cast the first stone.
    Ever asked friends to pitch in on keg, pay off a bet with a bottle of liquor, barter someone’s help for beers?

  20. Hummmm! says:

    Well I do know that the county can run the service for much less money and provide MUCH better service. FBFD Firefighters are EMTs but violate state law every day by having oxogen on there truck being that a service has to have a medical director to do any more than first aid. The county requiers every firefighter also be a paramedic! That means there fire trucks can do every thing a ambulance can but take you to the hospital means a lot when you are in need of real help. The county also requires that there is a supervisor on there trucks yes they are all fire offiser 1 state certified that is 6 months of training to just learn how to manage people. I have researched this a lot and think any one in this city that truly cares about there family and property would want this. I am not asking for you to take what I say at face value. I am saying every one should look in to this for your self just goggle it you will be shocked how much more they can offer and for much less money !!!!

  21. Justice For All says:

    No?

  22. Flaglercitizen1958 says:

    I dont think the county should come in and take over. I think that the other employees who came forward should be commended for their efforts to protect Flagler Beach. As a resident of Flagler Beach for the past 26 years, I am impressed with the quality from the local police department and fire department. I think get rid of the officers who violated policies while drinking on duty. Give a harsh dicipline to the ones who made a horrible decision to purchase alcholoh on duty. Florida Department of Law Enforcement needs to revoke the Sheriffs Deputy who illegally sold an on duty fire fighter alcholol, which he made from his residence. As stated below, it is a federal vioaltion of the LAW to sell home amde alcohol for profit. If the new sheriff is going to “clean house” he should start with the real problems in the sheriffs office, such as this one. This isn’t just involving the four officers at teh fire department. I for one am in awe about the lack of professionalism from everyone.

  23. madirishman says:

    The report indicates that during the fire on 12/14 a sheriff’s deputy was on scene but Kennedy never asked to have Roberts or Woods checked out by this deputy? If the charges are true as Kennedy testifies, wouldn’t it be his poor decision making that potentially put his own safety, as well as the other firefighters on scene AND the general public in danger.

    Additionally mentioned in the official report posted above is Pace allegedly falsifying court records, and now he’s acting chief? Why is he not on administrative leave pending an investigation? The 4 accused are being judged for breaking department rules, Pace is accused in this report of falsifying court records, a felony offense. A potential felony only warrents an internal investigation? How is that investigation going anyway and why is the media seemingly NOT interested in exploring this?

    As for Wood and Bissonnette, with no other known infraction history, it seems to be an isolated poor judgment issue that they honestly admit to. If only the city manager had just asked them at the beginning he might have saved the city a substantial portion of the more than $15,000 of the taxpayer dollars spent. They never consumed alcohol while on duty but Kennedy allowed people he said he knew had consumed alcohol to work and command a potentially dangerous situation thus endangering us all?…But he did nothing until weeks later?…and Kennedy’s still on duty?

    • just a thought says:

      Kennedy asked the Fire Chief not to let anyone respond that had been drinking. It was the CHIEF OF THE DEPARTMENT that made the decision to ignore that warning. I don’t know what you know about a paramilitary organization, but a mere firefighter cannot order the Chief to do something. He cannot overrule the Chief. Kennedy did a great job.

      • madirishman says:

        You can’t be serious.
        “Kennedy asked the Fire Chief”, whom he knew was under the influence of alcohol, “not to let anyone respond that had been drinking.”
        So a Fire Chief, known to be under the influence of alcohol, responding to that house fire could not be reported to the on duty deputy sheriff?
        Not only could Kennedy have reported his concerns to that on duty officer IT WAS HIS DUTY as a public safety employee to do so and HE FAILED. By not doing so he put all of us in potential danger.

        “Next time you have a thought, let it go” Ron White

  24. michael welsh says:

    steve and diane woods are are good people that are being slandered

  25. michael welsh says:

    flagger beach politics suck

  26. Mel Bronson says:

    Isn’t alcohol highly flammable? Why are the firemen playing with a flammable liquid?

    Kind of like our politicians lying.

    • Fact says:

      Alcohol is flammable! What do you consider “playing” with? They consumed it just as many of us do on a regular basis, just in the wrong place! You could be killed the next time you get in your vehicle and drive, going to start walking? Kind of an off the wall thought as well, wouldnt you say?

  27. priortiesunderpressure says:

    It sounds to me like Kennedy was the only one who exercised good judgment the night of the drinking by the others and the subsequent fire. Kennedy was the shift supervisor and not the Chief. His job was not to mill around the party and keep tabs on how much everyone was drinking. He told them not to drink if they were on duty. He told the Chief not to let the drinkers drive. As shift supervisor, I presume he supervised the safe extinguishing of the fire, and no one got hurt. What else could he have done? Called the sheriff and asked the sheriff to detain the firetruck in violation of his chief’s command so the truck driver could be breathalized??? Good luck fighting a fire without equipment! Sheriff would have probably called chief who would have further complicated the situation or told the sheriff to not step in. Bottom line – Kennedy would NEVER have been put in this situation if these people had not been drinking while on duty or while asserting their duty. He made the best of the situation the drinkers caused. They dealt him a bad hand, and played it as well as could be expected.

  28. Robbie says:

    Also, in November of 2012 the Flagler County Board of County Commissioners approved a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necesssity for Flagler Beach for BLS non-transport service. They also took steps to cancel an Interlocal Agreement that was made obselete by the issuance of the COPCN.

    • Fact says:

      @ madirishman- as the report from 12/14 indicates they were on a structure fire, that means those guys were working, not baby sitting! You stated that it was Kennedy’s “bad decision” that may have potentially put his and others safety at risk, YOU CANT BE SERIOUS! His decision was to inform everyone before leaving the party that anyone drinking was not to respond, his decision put NO ONE at risk!! The 2 that responded after drinking is where your problem is! Im not sure of everyones age involved here, but i am sure they are old enough to make their own decsions and w/ that comes taking responsiblity for YOUR OWN DECISIONS/ACTIONS! It seems to me we lose focus very quickly of the situation at hand by attempting to place blame elsewhere. Guilty people or the ones trying to defend them often try to divert the “spotlight”, dont let yourself get to far away from who made the bad choices here!

      As far as the allegations against Pace, sounds alot worse than it is! The guy is an honest hard worker and thats from personal knowledge!!

      And i hope the best for the 4 of them, you never want to see anyone lose a job with wives and families! And i hope you dont try to justify in your head that because this may be an isolated incident that there should be forgiveness as there are unforgiveable mistakes! But i hope the 4 of them remember that they have no one but themselves to blame for the position they are in as it was each indviduals actions that put them where they are, nobody elses!!

      One more thought for you, you quoted a comedian that while at work sits up on stage and drinks! LOL irony?

  29. madirishman says:

    @ Fact
    Problem with your assumption of “his decision put NO ONE at risk!!” is YOU have no way of determining the risk and that’s a fact. Kennedy had to determine the risk to him, fellow responders and the public and he determined it could wait a couple of weeks.
    FYI – Many times firefighters are removed from jobs and sent for testing. With your assumption an inebriated Fire Chief can show up to an emergency and no one can do anything about it? Not even the Shift Leader? That’s just ridiculously absurd. Yes they are old enough to make their own decisions but they still showed up and Roberts took command even as Shift Leader Kennedy knew and testified as true that the Roberts was under the influence and at THAT point had the responsibility and duty to protect the public, his fellow responders and himself and to do something about….. it but he failed.
    As for diverting the spot light, let’s just say this situation needs more of a broad beam. The so called independent report even says there were 2 very distinct “cliques” at FBFD and if you think they’ve caught all the bad guys and only the little angles are left behind then your spot light might be too narrowly focused.
    And you stated “the allegations against Pace, sounds alot worse than it is!” You’re not qualified to make that determination either. Do you think a potential criminal misdemeanor should be just shrugged off? More of this will come out for sure. Bank on it.
    As for your praise for your buddy just check out his driving record, it’s public record. When you check it out, then get back on your high horse and as you say “justify in your head that because this may be an isolated incident that there should be forgiveness as there are unforgiveable mistakes!”
    Your comment that you “hope the 4 of them remember that they have no one but themselves to blame for the position they are in”. A knife in the back cannot be placed there by the victim. I don’t think Shane Wood and Bissonnette will forget. They absolutely told the truth, remember? They hurt no one and their only transgression was breaking a couple of city rules. Their bigger mistake was probably thinking they were in a brotherhood of firefighters. Flip side is that very few firefighters will ever fully trust those still on the job in FBFD. As for Roberts and Steve Wood I think the burden of proof is still on the accusers thanks to the accusers’ lack of good judgment at the fire on 12/14. They should have had the men tested then we would all know for sure and not just taking a testimony from a potential member of the “clique” number 2 club.
    Ron White does sit up on a stage and drinks and sometimes they carry drunken firefighters out of restaurants. So what’s your point?

  30. Robert Lewis says:

    I would like to know Robert Pace qualifications to be made Chief?

    Does he hold a Bachelor’s Degree or Higher?
    Does he hold Certification as a Chief Officer from a state or national agency?
    Does he have experience in government relations such as budgeting, grants, staffing?
    Does he have the experience as a Chief Fire Officer to take command of a scene or command a fire agency?

    As a tax payer, I want to know if City Manager Bruce Campbell has thoroughly thought this through and elected to utilize Robert Pace on a permanent basis. I want to know if Mr. Pace holds the qualifications necessary to be senior agency administrator.

    After doing my research I have found that the City of Flagler Beach is utilizing an acting Chief with less than 6 years as an active duty firefighter in an agency with less than 10,000 calls per year. Does not seem like an individual I would trust with my life.

    If Martin Roberts is terminated, I hope the Flagler Beach City Council employs a Chief that holds the necessary qualifications and experience and not someone who drew the right straw.

  31. madirishman says:

    @ Robert Lewis

    Excellent series of questions Mr. Lewis that many of us would like to know the answers to as well.

    Here’s a couple of other questions I think need answering..

    What is the status of the “internal investigation” of Mr. Pace concerning falsification of court probation records?

    Why has this investigation taken longer than the, so called, independent investigation on 4 men?

    Who’s in charge of this investigation of a potential criminal misdemeanor violation?

    Why is Pace not on administrative leave pending the results of this internal investigation like the others?

    Because he is not on leave, does Mr. Pace have access to potential damaging information and evidence concerning the investigation on himself?

    Why would someone with Mr. Pace’s driving record even be considered for a position in the FBFD at all?

  32. Chief Kookookachoo says:

    Wow it’s funny how people try to put the spotlight on Kennedy and Pace when the 4 others have already been proven at fault by a third party investigating law firm. Nice try but the public wont fall for those tactics. Out with the yeehaw and in with the professionals.

  33. curious says:

    If we are going to start pointing fingers “everywhere” else, how many people from the other agencies were aware of the situation that night and never did anything themselves?

  34. madirishman says:

    @ Chief Kookookachoo

    Wow, I guess it’s easy for some to ignore the questions and just proclaim professionalism. It’s funny how clique members just tow the line thinking there’s now professionals in the FBFD. What is the total number of service years at the Beach House? Lets see, one under-qualified Acting Chief, and 6 relative newbies probably compiling less than 20 years experience TOTAL! Are any of them qualified to command…anything? And this is what you call professional? Shane Wood has Assistant Chief and Command experience together with Bissonnette they have more experience than your so-called professionals all by themselves. Martin Roberts has double that experience with Chief level credentials at 2 other fire departments.

    Anyone from the Public with good eye sight can see this fiasco for what it is. The city managers attempt to finish what he couldn’t finish last summer.

    Another interesting side note to the level of unfairness of all this lies in the “so called” independent report where the 12/14 party witness, accuser and fire police member Barbara Haspiel, who openly admitted to drinking at the party, drove her personal vehicle to and worked the fire scene but was not reprimanded, not demonized in the press and was not put on administrative leave? Don’t ya just love being part of that 2nd clique Chief Kookookachoo?

  35. Brian says:

    If anyone has any questions on qualifications and ability why dont they stop by the fire department. It looks like “Madirishman” likes to piont fingers and sling mud while ignoring the fact that these three disobeyed policies. That is something a guilty man does! The department is in good hands.
    I don’t understand how these guys drinking has anything to do with last summer. Again pointing fingers rather than owining up to what they did.

  36. Chiefkookookachoo says:

    After evaluating all of your comments on this subject I have come to the conclusion that you my friend are a disgruntled member of faction 1. Although you may think I am a faction 2 member I thank you for the compliment but am not. This forum was to talk about the four deliquents who were proven guilty for their actions. Those four individuals are an Embarassment to anyone in the fire service. A dishonor to anyone who put on a uniform, a slap in the face to any firefighter who lost his life. Those four members should never have the honor to walk in a fire house again. My grandfather was a firefighter and he always told me it was something earned not given. Those four think that that job was given. I do not know any members of that department but I am confident in MY City Manager that he would employee some of the best to protect my family. By the way I heard McDonalds is hiring.

  37. Retired Jax FF says:

    I agree stop pointing fingers at others. The individuals should be held accountable for their actions.. It was a third party investigator and ithey are not allowed by law to make a bias conclusion. The facts speak for themselves. It does not matter if there were cliques or not. There were bad decisions made and there are consequences to follow those bad decisions. The cliques didn’t force the others to make bad decisions did they?

    As for the department goes there are professionals there. Bobby Pace has the second most time served there and has his fire officer certs and a degree. Three other guys there have their fire officer certs and 2 are paramedics. How do I know this? Well unlike others I actually approached one of them at the store.

    Chief Roberts from what I kmow was a VOLUNTEER Chief. And the only one who had any command or fire officer cert/experience between Wood and Bisonete was Wood. Would it be a loss? yes.. But Sometimes it’s not what you did in the past but how you approach the future. So give those guys some credit.

    I don’t ever wish anything bad to anyone in the fire service and hope this all goes well.

    God Bless.

  38. seabiscuit says:

    @madirishman You are EXACTLY right, it is the City Manager’s attempt to “finish” what he started last summer. He couldn’t do it then…. and although he may “succeed” a bit this time… he has too much mud on his own face for this to continue for very long without bringing himself down in the process. I for one want a front row seat…. Oh wait… I have one….wecubc

    Watching this all unfold, is almost as good as sugar cubes and carrot sticks. Whinnnnnnnnnnnnnnnieeeee

  39. Anonymous says:

    The firefighters were suspended for the alcohol at the firehouse that was not consumed until after they were off duty. Yes they broke the rules, but they were not drinking on the job. So let the punishment fit the crime. Unpaid suspension perhaps? Now that this precedence has been set by a suspension and an outside investigation and possible further action, who decides what future infractions deserve such treatment and what does not? So if you all feel that this deserves a severe penalty, then what penalty should be given for altering records, fraud, with holding information that put the public’s safety on the line? A promotion to acting chief? Flagler needs to explain their decision in this temporary promotion. Nothing like waiting two weeks plus to open your mouth. What a hero? If he was so worried about public safety, then why did he allow this to take place? there were cops at the scene, no one can prove who drank what, its hear say, because this guy did not report his colleagues behavior. This man is just as guilty as the people who allegedly consumed alcohol at that party. Also someone earlier mentioned a DUI. If there is a DUI, isn’t there policy in place not to allow someone to drive a emergency vehicle? People with CDL’s are expected to drive with stricter rules and at higher standards Something is definitely fishy about FBFD.

    • really says:

      Hey “seabiscuit”, what exactly were the city managers options when this mess was put on his desk??? When you have employees that are this willing to sacrifice themselves, definitley doesnt take a whole lot to “finish” the job as you say! Personally, id say his hands were tied! You have public figures involving alcohol with work….. Jobs arent hand outs, as many people mistake them for!

      • Seabiscuit says:

        @ Really – I would would expect a highly paid manager to ask the accusers for proof before I opened up an unwarranted investigation based on just he said she said. If thats all they had was a few people to write letters with absolutely no proof, the manager should have said that he would look into it but not pay lots and lots of money to investigate just because they “said” . Proof is what they go by in a court of law but here.

        They never have money to do what they need to do but always find money to do what they WANT to do. I wish commission would ask mr c if that investigation was budgeted for in Oct or did he rob the employees to get that money? How did they come up with that $18,000.00 which they lied about and said it would be only $15,000.00. Lies, Lies, Lies and more lies. Its all good mr c. Hope you enjoy it while it lasts but unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. Tick-Tock…..wecubc

  40. really says:

    LOL- define “highly” paid! You said they had no proof, thats why we conduct investigations to prove or disprove while people are on PAID leave. But i believe with the allegations, paid leave was the right place to put them! You said proof is what they go by in court, id say after reading that investigative report you gave them all the proof needed!! As for your rant about the city spending money, that doesnt pertain to this case! But unfortunately they had no options! Youd be crying any way they did it!

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