Fayetteville N.C. Councilman McDougald Bullies City Fire Chief
Fayetteville, N.C. – Fayetteville City Councilman Chalmers McDougald overstepped the bounds of propriety and gentlemanly demeanor by bullying the city Fire Chief Ben Major at the recent council work session.
McDougald used his power as a council member to try and intimidate Fire Chief Ben Major at the recent council work session.
McDougald, seeking to solidify his shaky candidacy in the upcoming city council elections, sought to cast himself as a Black Activist in order to garner votes by creating a hostile work environment for Fire Chief Ben Major. Chalmers McDougald faces D.J. Haire, a former council member who served for 16 years. In 2011, Haire beat McDougald in a close contest.
Now McDougald appears to be using city employees as stepping stones, walking all over them for personal gain. This is certainly not what Fayetteville’s voters expect out of their representatives. Especially out of Black representatives who attack Black employees who have struggled hard and put in the hard work and effort required to reach their dreams setting a clear example to all Blacks that they too can succeed if they only try as Fire Chief Ben Major has done.
Many Fayetteville citizens have expressed disgust at the actions of McDougald and many are commenting that D.J Haire may very well be the better choice after all.
Many Fayetteville citizens (voters) are questioning why McDougald is even addressing the Fire Chief. The Fire Chief was there to give a report to the council but according to established rules of proper conduct any questions McDougald had should have been addressed to the City Manager Doug Hewett, not the Fire Chief.
In the proper order of things the Fire Chief answers to the City Manager and the City Manager is the one who answers to any city council member. It is not the place of any council member to be jumping the chain of command and certainly not to bully any city employee.
McDougald’s actions are reminiscent of the actions of Hope Mills City Commissioner Tonzie Collins who was at the center of a $150,000 settlement the town’s insurance company paid to a former employee who accused Collins of harassing her and establishing a hostile work environment during her two years of employment with the town.
The possibility certainly exists that Fire Chief Ben Major may also have legal standing to seek legal action against McDougald for unnecessarily creating such a hostile work environment.
At issue is McDougald’s displeasure with the standards that the city of Fayetteville as a whole strives to achieve. Apparently McDougald seems to believe that our city employees need not know how to read.
McDougald commented, “We are hiring on reading ability.” as if that was somehow improper.
The citizens of Fayetteville most certainly agree that having the ability to read and yes, write, are at the least certainly requirements to work for our city. Especially in the areas of emergency services to to our citizens like firefighters.
Firefighters do far more than just fight fires. And today’s firefighting technology certainly requires that employees be capable of reading manuals and training material in order to become more proficient at their job.
Fire Chief Ben Major has clearly been exhausting every possible measure to entice, not just Blacks, but all qualified minorities to apply to our prestigious Fire Department. The city of Fayetteville has one of the most enviable fire departments in the state and that is certainly because of the good solid work to make it that way by Fire Chief Ben Major.
The reality is that there is nothing wrong with a lower percentage of Blacks in firefighting. Does anyone complain that there is a lower percentage of Whites in Pro basketball? This perceived lower percentage may be nothing more than a reflection that Blacks are just not culturally drawn to a career in firefighting and there’s nothing wrong with that.
No one would expect a professional basketball team to lower their standards for making their team just to get more Whites on their team. And how many Hispanics or Asians does one see in football? Is there a problem there?
The truth here is that McDougald tried to unethically use Fire Chief Ben Major as a launch pad for his election campaign and that was wrong.
City of Fayetteville Code of Ordinances; Sec. 19-63. General Rules of Conduct.
Para “A” Failure in performance of duties. The following causes relating to performance of duties are representative of, but not limited to, those considered to be adequate grounds for disciplinary action: Item #3: Discourteous treatment of the public or other employees;
A responsible city council would take action on this clear violation of city policy/ordinance by McDougald such as a vote of “no confidence” as the city of Hope Mills had the courage to take against a recalcitrant city commissioner of their own.
At the very least McDougald owes Fire Chief Ben Major a very public apology. And not a faux apology where he tries to say he’s sorry that Fire Chief Ben Major is at fault by taking something wrong, or out of context. But a real apology where McDougald takes real and complete responsibility for acting wholly and totally inappropriately by being an unconscionable impolite loathsome bully towards Fire Chief Ben Major.
Anything less would be a clear signal that McDougald doesn’t deserve to be re-elected.
10 thoughts on “Fayetteville N.C. Councilman McDougald Bullies City Fire Chief”
Time for this man to get off his soap box and get back to being a council person…
The Fire Department doesn’t need uneducated, street folk watering down standards…. These are the future drivers, officers, and EMTs taking care of us… Going to vehicle accidents, the hazardous incidents , operating upwards of million dollar vehicles…. Reading and writing is essential in this profession where soon one will be In need of college level education just to be an employee….we the citizens of Fayetteville need Fire Fighters that are fluent, able to do the job required… The Fire Department is not a toy for someone’s political aspirations… It’s an honorable calling that is under appreciated until you need them then you want 100% people coming to your emergency….. I’ll wait to see if this councilman does the right thing and give Chief Major the apology he is owed!
McGougald is worthless as a councilman, approach him with a problem and see what his answer is!!! Remember he won’t wear the Fayetteville lapel pin because it has the Market House on it. Believe me between him and DJ Haire we have no viable choice for our district!!
The fire department does not hire employees. Human Resources at City Hall does.
That’s a good point! Even more proof then that McDougald is posturing for the election at Fire Chief Ben Major’s expense. I hope the Fire Chief includes that in his legal action if he seeks one.
So true Randy
Would the councilman go into a burning structure with a crew who possibly couldn’t read or write?? Is he that stupid that he thinks any fireman in the country would want to do that? Does he think that it’s not necessary to read but you can handle methylethyleatyourfaceoff safely? Does he think that a man who can’t read can possibly know how to cut pillars loaded with airbags ( marked in “writing” sometimes ) and jack a dash to rescue his wife or kids? I’m sorry to say so but the guy needs to understand that firefighting is a very dangerous job and if minorities don’t want to apply then we shouldn’t have to beg them to.
Exactly! There are no handouts in the fire service.
I hope that Chief Majors will seek legal actions toward this bullying councilman, but knowing Chief Majors he wouldn’t bring this to that level. It’s time McDougald quits degrading the City of Fayetteville Fire Department. My husband has been with the department for 30 years. I don’t see the public doing any criticizing of the Fire Department. Most of the public’s response to the fire department is a positive one. I sure don’t want a substandard employees trying to save my life or putting a fire out and it doesn’t matter what color that they are. The Fire Department also does a lot of PR work with local schools and within the communities which they serve. Do you think anyone gives them credit for that or for the work they do, rarely! When they are not on a call, they are training, painting and maintaining hydrants, and do repairs around the station. When they do repairs, it saves money for the City, which I think is more important to the citizens than this bullying idiot McDougald. I wish he would walk a day in a fireman’s shoes then maybe he would learn something about the citizens of Fayetteville, instead of just running his mouth about the Fire Department.
There are so many emotions flowing through my mind right now that I had to take a step back so that I wouldn’t disrespect the position that you currently hold. With that being said, let me give you a little background information about myself. My name is Lieutenant Althea Gwyn . I recently retired from the COF Fire Department after 20 years of service. I literally started on this career when I turned 40. I didn’t make the cut the first time, but I felt encouraged because I missed it by 1 point. (Yes, they used to place our scores on the front of City Hall). All that did was make me prepare harder for the next opportunity, and l knocked the test out of the park… in those days my passing grade had to be at least a 90. I knew nothing about firefighting, just that I believed that I could do the job. With all due respect, how dare you say that men and women, especially of color, cannot get a job with the Fire Department unless the standards are lowered! I don’t believe that you actually believe that but decided to use Chief Major as a WHIPPING BOY to further your agenda. Shaking my Damn head!!!!!
If I am correct the city took away longevity pay ? Recently took away some of the health benefits when they retire. You can’t expect people to knock on your door when someone down the road has more to offer.
Lower qualification standards and increase Fayettevilles liability.