An Illinois fire chief who tried to ban American flag decal’s from his department’s lockers was forced to back down after four veteran firefighters and their union challenged the policy.
So the new policy’s gone – and they want the chief gone, too.
According to Fox 32, the controversy started Monday in the Maywood Fire Department just outside Chicago on Monday, when Chief Craig Bronaugh Jr. tried to forbid his fighters from putting American flags or other decals on their lockers.
Coming on the eve of the 13th anniversary of 9/11, when hundreds of firefighters went to their deaths in the Twin Towers, the policy stung, and four firefighters who refused to go along were suspended.
One of them was David Flowers Jr., a 30-year veteran and son of a firefighter who is also the firefighters’ union president.
“My dad was a fireman for 26 years in Maywood, I took over his locker and on the outside of his locker I have a Marine Corps decal on my locker,” Flowers told the station. “it’s been there for well over 30 years, I take great offense to that.”
The policy was rescinded after a tense meeting Wednesday, but the hard feelings haven’t gone away.
“I don’t think he needs to be a chief if this is the way he’s going to conduct business, I don’t think the village can afford a chief like this,” firefighter Tim McDonald told the station.
Bronaugh sees things differently.
Arguing that he only wanted firefighters’ lockers to be uniform, he said Wednesday he would distribute American flag decals so that order could be maintained in the firehouse.
He defended his suspensions and said the firefighters and their union – affiliated with the notoriously leftist Service Employees International Union – were using the dispute to stir up controversy.
“If it’s not a safety issue, the answer is not to be defiant, disrespectful and insubordinate, and in this case, that is what happened,” Bronaugh Jr. said.
Check out the original Fox 32 report here. (Note: This story was broadcast before the policy was rescinded.)
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