RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Richmond Interim Fire Chief David Daniels found out he was out of a job on Friday.
The Richmond Firefighter's Union, IAFF Local 995, says they are disappointed with the mayor's decision. The union president, Keith Andes, sent NBC12 a letter stating the rank and file wants David Daniels to lead the department permanently. The letter was dated back in April.
Now they're trying to figure out why he's out of a job.
The respect of the fire department rank and file and a relationship with the community are all things the Richmond Firefighter's Union said Interim Chief David Daniels had. "We were kind of stagnated as a department," said Andes. "He came on board, worked well with the department, [and] basically fell in love with him."
But on Friday, the city's top firefighter was let go after filling in for several months. The mayor's office simply stating it's a "personnel issue."
"I am sick of it always being a personnel issue. I am sick of that word," said Richmond City Council Member Reva Trammell (District 8). Trammel says she was shocked over the decision. "He was doing all of the right things," she said. "I never heard nothing [sic] bad about him and he came all to my public safety meetings. He reached out to me one-on-one to tell me the plans that he had for the new fire station."
NBC12 decided to go straight to the mayor to see if we could get more. "I appreciate Chief Daniels' service to the City of Richmond, but it was a personnel matter that I really can't discuss publicly," said Mayor Stoney. "I'm asking the fire department to trust in our decision we made. We have a great chief coming in."
The union rep says the entire situation is strange. "The sad thin is, he didn't even know the application process was even open until two days before it closed," said Andes. "With all the trips he makes over at City Hall, you would think that somebody would have brought it up to him."
The mayor says that is something he can't discuss either. And hopes the newly appointed chief, Melvin Carter, has support. "We're moving the fire department in a new direction," says Mayor Stoney. "I think Chief Carter will provide the vision necessary to take it to the next level."
"We weren't picking sides from the beginning," said Andes. "We were supportive of Chief Daniels. We let that be known."
Years ago, Daniels was formally censured in Washington State during his time as chief at a department out there. However, current supporters say they've had always been aware of that and continue to back him today.
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