California: Rodeo-Hercules fire board meets today to decide fate of chief and board member

At the February 18 meeting of the Rodeo-Hercules Fire District Board during a discussion about implementing the Work Capacity Test, Bill Prather, one of the Board members, made a comment about 5-foot-two female firefighters being unqualified to do the job. Wildfire Today covered the lingering controversy on May 21.

Later Mr. Prather “apologized” several times, one time saying: “The word I should have used was “5-foot-two person”.

The local firefighters union is upset that after Mr. Prather insulted women, he then insulted short people. On their web site, they are calling for a big turnout of union members at the fire district’s meeting tonight:

We need as many 1230 members as possible at the Rodeo Hercules Fire Board meeting on June 25, 2009 at 1900, at station 75 in Rodeo. This is where the board member who made discrimanatory(sic) comments about short people will be censored (sic). There will be a lot of media attention so we need to represent (sic)

The union is also calling for the removal of Fire Chief Gary Boyles because he is advocating the use of the Work Capacity Test for firefighters who serve on out of the area strike team fire assignments. The union believes the Candidate Physical Ability Test, which in part involves a treadmill and is used by fire departments throughout California, is a more comprehensive test of firefighter ability.

The fire district board is expected to make decisions about the removal of both Chief Boyles and board member Prather Thursday night.

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