After working as a Milwaukee police officer for 8 years, Nathan Fagar went to work for the Milwaukee Fire Department. Being a firefighter was Fagar’s “dream job”. Now, he and fellow probationary firefighter Joey Siegert find themselves out of a job and Fagar believes he is nothing more than a “scapegoat”.
Fagar and Siegert worked as probationary firefighters at the Engine 32, Ladder 9 fire station in Milwaukee, Wisconsin which was vandalized by personnel at the station. Following an internal investigation into the incident, 9 firefighters were suspended. Now, Fagar and Seigert have been terminated and two others have “escaped” further disciplinary action by retiring with full benefits.
In a Bright.com article earlier this month, it was reported that several of the firefighters were disgruntled by a recent command change and faced reassignment to other posts around the city. Apparently, they took out their frustration on the firehouse shattering televisions, breaking dishes and soiling firefighting equipment with bodily fluids. There were other alleged “unspeakable acts” that the station (WTMJ) could not reveal on air.
Both Fagar and Siegert deny any involvement in the vandalism incident, although Fagar has admitted to WTMJ Milwaukee that he was present at the firehouse when the vandalism occurred. According to Fagar, no one leading the investigation into the incident has asked for his version of what happened.
“I feel like I was a scapegoat for them. An easy termination to show that…..they mean business,” Fagar told WTMJ. “I think they need to look at all aspects of what really happened and who did what.”
Fagar understands that the fire chief had the absolute authority to fire him during his probationary period. However, he also believes that the chief has the ability to change his mind. “He has discretion to overturn a decision he made,” Fagar said.
To help get the men a hearing on their terminations, a petition titled “Reinstate Nathan Fager and Joey Siegert as Milwaukee Firefighters” has been started on the Care2petition site. The petition states:
Nathan Fager and Joey Siegert were terminated on October 7th and 8th, 2013 and not given and explination as to why or given an opportunity to defend themselves. Although they were both on probation and the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission Rule XI, Section7 states that they may be discharged by the Chief of the department and there shall be no appeal from this discharge, they need to be heard. There is always discretion that can come into play and they, the Fire Chief and Fire and Police Commission, can reverse a decision upon looking at the totality of the circumstances including the actions of a person and their work history.
As of October 23, the petition has 743 signatures with a goal of 1000 signatures by October 28.
If you would like to sign this petition, please visit http://www.thepetitionsite.com/283/060/184/reinstate-nathan-fager-and-joey-siegert-as-milwaukee-firefighters/