Maryland Fire Chief Cites Unacceptable Behavior Towards Firehouse Custodians

Darcy Spencer and Sarah Cammarata, NBC Washington
Maryland Fire Chief Cites Unacceptable Behavior Towards Firehouse Custodians
(NBC Washington)

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (NBC Washington) - The chief of the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service says he has learned members of the department made vulgar sexual comments toward members of the custodial staff and shared their "personal opinions regarding DACA."

In a strongly worded internal memo obtained by News4, Fire Chief Scott Goldstein described a number of inappropriate interactions between department employees and members of the contract custodial staff.

According to the memo, these behaviors included: "flirtatious comments," "negative comments regarding diverse neighboring communities," "vulgar, inappropriate sexual comments" and "comments/personal opinions regarding DACA." 

The comments have been made at multiple MCFRS worksites, the chief told News4. He did not say who reported the issue.

"The folks who identified these issues did not desire to move forward with filing a complaint. I felt very significantly, as I still do here today, that these actions are inappropriate," he said. 

The concerns were brought to the attention of Capt. David Kennedy of the fire department's Equal Employment Opportunity/Diversity Office. 

"There was mention about certain things that were said to some of the workers," Kennedy said. "When they told me that, they said they didn't want to file a complaint, they just wanted it addressed."

No disciplinary action will be taken against any firefighter. 

Goldstein said he knows many MCFRS employees "welcome and support the custodial staff," but that "the inappropriate actions of a few destroy the work of many." 

The news comes as the Fairfax County fire department faces repeated complaints of harassment, bullying and retaliation against women. Fire Chief Richard R. Bowers Jr. refused calls to step down and denied any problem.

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