DECATUR, Ala. (WHNT) — Two Decatur Fire & Rescue (DFR) employees have argued their cases to the City’s personnel board, appealing penalties they and others see as a little too stiff for the situation.
On June 26, 2022, DFR Driver and Engineer Pete Moncrief’s name was at the top of a “mandatory overtime” list when Battalion Chief Jeremy Baggett told him another firefighter had called in sick, meaning Moncrief would need to stay and work another 24-hour shift.
The mandatory overtime list, explained DFR Fire Chief Tracy Thornton, is what the department uses to ensure a fire station has at least three available firefighters at all times.
Baggett delivered the news to Moncrief around 6:15 a.m., minutes before his shift would have ended, when Moncrief is said to have refused the overtime.
That refusal led to penalties that are still being decided.
Moncrief has appealed his determination hearing, said Thornton, to which Mayor Tab Bowling suspended him for two 24-hour shifts without pay and six months probation.
DFR Lieutenant Michael Leonard, Moncrief’s supervisor, is also being penalized for a “failure to act” during the incident. He has also appealed his determination hearing, where the proposed penalty was one 24-hour shift without pay and six months probation.
According to the Decatur Daily’s reporting, Assistant City Attorney Chip Alexander cross-examined Leonard, saying he “should have done more to get Moncrief to work overtime and he should have initiated Moncrief’s discipline.”
Leonard responded, saying he “could have handled things better.”
During cross-examination, Mayor Bowling told Leonard, “we’re looking for someone to be a leader and you failed.”
In Leonard’s closing, he challenged Bowling’s comments on his integrity, saying, “The mayor shouldn’t have called my integrity into question when he has a (illegal) bed and breakfast.”
Alexander, who has refused to comment with News 19, has suggested that Lt. Leonard lose his rank at a hearing last week with the City’s personnel board.
Thornton said the board is expected to hold a special called meeting to go over all details of the incident before decisions on penalties are expected to be made at the next regular board meeting, scheduled for 8:30 a.m. on March 30.