Roanoke firefighter files grievance against city over job transfer –

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An article ran in the paper today: Roanoke Firefighter filing a grievance against the city over job transfer. The article speaks of how Mike Banks, a 31 year veteran and Captain of the Roanoke Fire-EMS Department, has filed a grievance over comments made about his website during a cluster meeting with the Chiefs of the department. Captain Banks hosts a website: The site enables firefighters, or anyone for that matter, to post comments on a message board anonymously. The firefighters have left a wide array of comments over the past 2 years on the site. During a cluster meeting last year, Banks states that he was told to take the site down by the Chiefs. The cluster meetings are held at various stations in the City so that other Companies can meet up and the Chiefs can speak to more firefighters at once. I was at the meeting that Banks speaks of and worked for Banks at the time of the meeting. I also heard that the same remark was made at other cluster meetings that day.

I do not think there are too many firefighters in the City who would disagree that there is retaliation in our work place. I am not saying it happens every day, but it happens. Most of the firefighters are not willing to stand up for even the smallest things because of the fear of retaliation.

Is this unique to Roanoke? No I do not believe so. I think this sort of thing happens in a lot of fire departments. That doesn’t make it right.

The morale of the department continues to plummet. I cannot say when it started its downward spiral, but it continues. The issues like overtime, FLSA, retaliation, mandatory holdover, non-reimbursed required off-duty training, and pay have taken there toll on Roanoke’s Bravest. While we have made small victories on some of these issues like getting overtime pay back we still have a long way to go. Unfortunately some of these issues are knowingly being done wrong by the City and it takes a veteran like Mike Banks to make a stand. Everyone else is running scared looking for someone else to be the poster child, and I don’t blame them.

Here is another blogs take on the situation.

A view of the article is below, click for the rest of the article.

Roanoke firefighter files grievance against city over job transfer –

Roanoke firefighter files grievance against city over job transfer
Michael Banks says he was transferred in retaliation over his controversial Web site.

By Mike Allen

A career Roanoke firefighter has filed a grievance against the city, saying he was transferred from his old job as retaliation for his refusal to take down a controversial Internet site.

Roanoke Fire-EMS Capt. Michael Banks hosts, a Web site where some Roanoke firefighters anonymously air their complaints about management. People post on the site “because they’re afraid to say something personally,” Banks said. “It’s just an outlet for people.”

City officials assert that Banks’ transfer had nothing to do with the Web site. “Absolutely not,” said acting Fire-EMS Chief David Hoback.

On June 2, Banks was reassigned from the airport fire station, where he had served for more than seven years, to the station on Riverland Road. Banks, 54, has worked for Roanoke Fire-EMS for more than 30 years, attaining the rank of captain in 1992.(Read the rest of the article)

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