Florida Fire Chief To Retire After Significant No Confidence Vote

posted by Jessi Minneci - 

It appears Hurricane Irma killed the career of a Treasure Coast fire chief.

St. Lucie County Fire Chief Buddy Emerson had planned to retire at the end of February, but after a 309-14 vote of no-confidence, the Fire District Board made it effectively immediately. 

Chief Emerson has acknowledged disagreements with the fire union, but the no-confidence vote allegedly took him by complete surprise. 

A complaint filed by the local Firefighters Union president claims Chief Emerson "lost his troops." 

The union had accused Emerson of reckless behavior as chief and of endangering employees' lives during the storm, when he required them to work but then sent them home during the storm.

Emerson disputes the charge, saying roads were safe and that Port St. Lucie police changed shifts at the same time as Fire District employees.

Emerson, who joined the Fire District in February 1992, said he would retire Feb. 28, when his contract with the Fire District expires. 

While telling the board he would retire, Emerson held out an option: He is open to staying on as chief.

The Fire Board has the discretion to extend Emerson's contract.


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