(WICHITA, Kan.) — Wichita firefighters raise concerns about the top brass with a union vote this week on the leadership of Chief Ron Blackwell and the fire department administration.
A retired firefighter and former union member described this vote as an "act of desperation" by the union to draw attention to a lack of confidence in Blackwell.
Large pay raises for top administrators, injuries to firefighters, and unjust discipline are among the concerns raised since Blackwell took over the department in 2007, the ex-firefighter said.
Current union president Matt Schulte wouldn't talk Friday about the reasons behind the vote. He said members were asked to cast ballots throughout the week to express their level of confidence in the fire department administration.
The union plans to release the results at a news conference Monday.
Schulte said the vote won't change anything for citizens in terms of fire response. He called it more of a "political statement" than anything else.
Wichita City Manager Robert Layton and Fire Chief Ron Blackwell were unavailable for comment Friday, according to a city spokesperson.