County fire department investigating battalion chief

Nick Blank
Posted 9/12/18

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – A Clay County Fire Rescue battalion chief is on administrative leave with pay while an investigation surrounding suggestive text messages he allegedly sent to a female …

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County fire department investigating battalion chief

Posted

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – A Clay County Fire Rescue battalion chief is on administrative leave with pay while an investigation surrounding suggestive text messages he allegedly sent to a female employee.

Clay County Fire Chief Lorin Mock said he has recommended termination of the battalion chief to Clay County Manager Stephanie Kopelousos, who has the authority to fire the chief whose name has not been disclosed.

Mock said the employee’s status would not change until he went through the disciplinary process. Because termination was asked for, Mock said, the process would take longer than had it been a written reprimand. He has been on leave since early July.

The woman filed a complaint with the Clay County Human Resources Department about the battalion chief at Fleming Island Station 22, which prompted an investigation that ended July 9. Clay Today did not receive the full report at press time.

“Each investigation is unique unto itself,” Mock said. “You have to guarantee the employee due process as well as in the investigation and follow up. You have to do due diligence to give the employee almost a benefit of the doubt as you work through this process.”

Three other employees are under investigation for separate matters, Mock said.

He said had has not recommended termination for the three employees, but the investigation is ongoing.

“The three haven’t reached an investigative conclusion for me to enter in the disciplinary process,” Mock said. “I don’t think any of the three rise to a similar level that we had in this case, but until the investigation is complete I can’t absolutely say that for certain.”

Kopelousos said a decision to discipline the employee has not been made.

“We’re currently in the process of gathering information with additional interviews and weighing all significant factors,” Kopelousos said.

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