Update: I received word this morning that the flags have now been lowered and the flag issue has been corrected. My sources are also telling me that a formal letter of apology (internal only) to the firefighters has been sent out. It is still unknown whether or not a formal policy change has occurred, but I applaud the District for doing the right thing in correcting a wrong that occurred.
Original Story: Fire Chief Orders Firefighters Not to Lower Flags to Half Staff
I recieved some disturbing news this morning from firefighters out of Moraga-Orinda Fire that they were ordered not to lower their flags in honor of fallen California Patrol Officer Kenyon Youngstrom.
According to my source, minutes after the County Fire Dispatch Center put out over the radio to all stations to lower flags to half staff in honor of fallen CHP Officer Youngstrom, firefighters at Moraga – Orinda Fire were ordered NOT to lower their flags by the District Fire Chief Randall Bradley.
According to those close to the situation, his policy is the flags will not be lowered unless its a presidential order even though Governor Brown’s office announced yesterday Capitol flags will be flow at half-staff.
While all other fire stations and police stations across the State have lowered their flags to honor this hero, MOFD firefighters were not able to show their respect, due to the decision of the Fire Chief. This same type of behavior that occurred when ECCFPD lost firefighter Willie West to occupational cancer in which flags were ordered back up after they had been lowered.
The firefighter, I spoke with yesterday (who asked to remain anonymous), stated he could not address why the Chief made this decision. He refereed me directly to the Fire Chief and/or his Executive Assistant for further explanation.
I would encourage you to write Chief Bradley and let him know that this disrespectful behavior will no longer be tolerated anymore. You can email him at [email protected]
This blatant disrespect to any public safety officer and firefighter is grounds for dismissal. He either needs to change this policy going forward while issue a public apology or be prepared for a pink slip.
I have now received an email from Chief Bradley after I reached out to him disagreeing with this policy as its disrespectful to public safety and firefighters. The chief says he is out of the country had nothing to do with the decision to lower the flag; my email to him was the first he had heard of it.
“I can say that the policy was in place prior to my arrival and it was developed as part of a labor management policy development process. Flag protocols are extremely controversial and each policy will defend someone or some organization,” said Chief Bradley.
After some foul language, he accused me of being played by some disgruntled union member.
Okay fine… but it still doesn’t change the fact a flag has been lowered twice and raised on his watch.
The fact of the matter is… when Willy died the MOFD firefighters were told by administration to raise the flag. It happened again yesterday. If in fact there was a flag protocol problem months ago at the very least should have been corrected by the fire chief.
The fact that he is trying to pass the buck onto the last guy is ridiculous. Is he not ultimately responsible for the actions of his administration and BC’s? This was not a negotiated item; it was part of the OAG’s (Official Action Guidelines) and has nothing to do with labor management.
It is a District Guideline that can be changed at any time by the Fire Chief.
So ask yourself, if there was a problem shouldn’t he have changed it?