GARDEN GROVE, CA The mayor’s son, hired last year as a city firefighter despite a criminal record, and still on the job after scathing reviews, is looking at a possible pay raise after being transferred to a different job within the department.
Jeremy Broadwater was pulled out of his job on a fire engine and reassigned to a desk role earlier this month, according to an Oct. 7 memo obtained by the Register.
Though city and fire department officials declined comment on the nature of Broadwater’s new job or why he was reassigned, a memo signed by the city and the firefighter’s union stipulates that an employee making such a switch can get a raise of up to 10 percent.
Broadwater, son of current mayor and longtime Councilman Bruce Broadwater, was hired last year from a field of about 500 applicants despite a list of 10 arrests and misdemeanor convictions of assault, resisting arrest, public intoxication and theft. Though the last of the convictions came several years ago and none would automatically disqualify Broadwater from working as a firefighter, officials familiar with the competitive hiring process said they would make it highly unlikely.
Bruce and Jeremy Broadwater have not responded to multiple requests for comment.
Interviews and records reviewed by the Register show that Broadwater’s supervisors have aired worries about his job performance, assigned colleagues to check his work and removed him from fire calls. One captain recommended that Broadwater be terminated because of his lackluster job performance.
Garden Grove City Manager Matt Fertal would not comment on details about Broadwater’s situation, but confirmed the firefighter’s switch in an email to the Register: “This is a Management decision to allocate resources that best serve the department.”
Broadwater’s reassignment became effective Saturday, days before his probationary status as a firefighter was set to be complete. The move also came on the eve of a highly anticipated report expected to look into multiple issues in the fire department, including Broadwater’s hiring.
That report was expected to be produced Tuesday for the City Council meeting, but was not listed on the council’s agenda.
In June, the Garden Grove Firefighters’ union cast a vote of no confidence against then-Chief David Barlag, citing his handling of the Broadwater situation among its top concerns. Barlag, a 28-year firefighting veteran, announced his resignation Oct. 1.
Since Broadwater’s hiring, the rookie firefighter has been cited for multiple errors on the job, including “giving incorrect vital (signs) and making numbers up” when offering emergency response aid, according to memos reviewed by the Register.
One captain wrote to a superior that if, “Broadwater was placed in a situation where he would have to act independently, the patients would gravely suffer,” and a direct supervisor recommended Broadwater be terminated.
City Manager Fertal declined to say what Broadwater’s duties are in his new position or what his salary would be. He referred inquiries to a records request.
No other fire employees were assigned to staff positions, according to the memo.