Sudden Resignation of Flagler Beach Firefighter Follows Allegations of “Unauthorized Absences”
FlaglerLive | January 5, 2016
Clint Dixon, a firefighter at the Flagler Beach Fire Department for the past three years, resigned abruptly the last week of December following allegations of misconduct. Dixon resigned on Dec. 27 before the city had a chance to investigate the matter, Liz Mathis, the city’s human resources director, said Tuesday.
“There were some allegations that were brought to light but he resigned before it was even addressed by the city,” Mathis said. “There was definitely no investigation run by HR because as far as I knew he’d resigned for personal reasons.”
Cpt. Bobby Pace, the fire chief, said the allegations centered on Dixon leaving his post, what’s technically referred to as taking unauthorized absences, “probably to meet someone nearby, that’s basically what I heard,” Pace said. “I asked him about it, he said it happened a couple of times.” Very quickly after that, he resigned.
Dixon cited “personal reasons” in his five-line resignation letter to Pace, thanking him and his fellow firefighters “for the wonderful time we have spent together on shift. This is a hard decision but I have to do what’s best for my family and myself.” The next day, Bruce Campbell, who was still the city manager at the time, accepted the resignation in a brief letter, wished him well and thanked him for his service.
Dixon, who was earning $34,244 a year and had been hired on Oct. 1, 2013, had been disciplined last year—and suspended—over matters that included not properly “following procedure” with equipment and a fire department vehicle, Pace said. Pace’s tenure as chief has been remarkably calm, after the turmoil the department went through two and three years ago, when several firefighters, including the fire chief, were fired over various allegations of misconduct. Two of those firefighters sued and eventually won a settlement.Dixon’s resignation, in comparison, appears to be an isolated matter not unlike issues organizations of any size face from time to time. Under Pace the department has largely avoided controversy—and has in fact won plaudits for its members’ actions, most recently on Saturday when two of its firefighters, Dusty Snyder and Steve Cox, played a critical role in the rescue of a drowning man. The most news the department expects to make in weeks ahead is taking ownership of its “quint” fire truck, which had been heatedly debated last year before the commission approved its purchase to replace an old–and since long gone–ladder truck. The quint is expected from South Dakota later this month.
Nevertheless in a small department, and coming after the resignation of another firefighter earlier in December, the ripples are more difficult to conceal. Andy Thomas resigned in early December to take a firefighting job with Flagler County. He was one of six full-time firefighters, not including Pace. He was replaced by Alan Forehand, who until then was one of four part-timers at the department. As a result, the department is hiring.