A volunteer firefighter in New Fairfield has been suspended indefinitely over old social media posts. The Volunteer Fire Department concluded an investigation of a complaint made against a member of the Ball Pond Volunteer Fire Company. The complaint was made to First Selectman Pat Del Monaco about blatantly sexist, homophobic and racist videos posted last spring.
Fire company officials say the group called Concerned Citizens of New Fairfield found the videos deeply offensive to members of the community. None of the posts were made on firehouse property, nor using any firehouse equipment or involving any other firehouse members or during firehouse activities, but the investigating committee also found the posts to be offensive, to be in violation of Department policy, and in violation of the standards they expect all members to follow.
While the Board of Trustees said they don't handle personnel issues in public, they feel the fire department owes an apology to the public for these regrettable actions.
The member involved will be taking a series of six classes designed for public servants that cover the issues involved. A plan is being developed to ensure that all 140 members of the Department receive training in these same issues.
The department's statement said, in part, "we are heartsick that the thoughtless actions of one member may have damaged our relationship with the community, and we want you all to know that anyone who needs our services has always and will always receive them as quickly as we can respond without regard to race, ethnicity, gender, etc."