Gainesville Fire Department Employee Suspended Following Comment From Shared Social Media Account

Update, June 22: A Gainesville Fire Department employee was suspended for a week without pay for a comment made from his social media account about recent protests in Gainesville, although his spouse had made the post. 

In a statement May 31, City Manager Bryan Lackey said the city was investigating a firefighter for an “inappropriate, distasteful and baseless remark regarding the citizenship status of some demonstrators” in Gainesville’s protests following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. 

On Monday, June 22, Lackey said the investigation had been completed. 

“During our investigation, both the employee and his spouse both stated that the spouse had typed and posted the remarks on Facebook.  Both stated that they were not together when the post was made,” Lackey said in an email. “The employee stated he was not aware of the post until the next day when another employee contacted him about this post.” 

The city has not identified the employee, who Lackey said was suspended for a week without pay and “strongly advised” to no longer have joint social media accounts. 

“While this finding did lessen the impacts and involvement of the employee, we still proceeded with a disciplinary action as all employees are responsible for any posts or remarks made from a social media account associated with their name,” Lackey said. 

GAINESVILLE, FL — Gainesville officials are investigating a city firefighter making an “inappropriate, distasteful and baseless remark regarding the citizenship status of some demonstrators” on social media during overnight protests, City Manager Bryan Lackey said in a Facebook post Sunday, May 31.

“We’ve also been told this comment has since been deleted,” he said.

Without identifying the firefighter, Lackey goes on to say that “city and department leaders are in the process of addressing this personnel issue at this time.”

“We want the public to know the comments of this one individual do not, in any way, shape or form, reflect the views or position of the Gainesville Fire Department, nor the city of Gainesville government,” the city manager said.

“The city prides itself on being a melting pot, and has zero tolerance for comments such as these.”

Lackey added: “The city also wishes to thank those who made their voices heard for doing so in a peaceful and meaningful way, and not threatening the safety of those in attendance, including the demonstrators themselves, bystanders and public safety personnel.”

Lackey said Monday afternoon that there were no updates on the situation. 

From The Gainesville Times