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Chief Scolded by Mayor for Hurtful Staff Meeting

Chief Scolded by Mayor for Hurtful Staff Meeting

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Houston Chronicle via YellowBrix

January 15, 2010

Draycott said she looked to the command staff for support and while they seemed startled, they silently allowed the captain to continue. Eventually, Boriskie said, he called a stop to it.

Draycott said the insults continued as each of her shift-mates were allowed to talk about how they felt about her returning. Some firefighters blamed her presence in the fire station for marital rifts at home, she said.

“There were firefighters who were mentally hurt. It was supposed to transition our employees,” Boriskie said.

Draycott is now on paid leave. She vows to return to Station 54 after the OIG investigation is complete.

The mayor said she, too, is waiting on the report from the inspector general’s office.

“I will take appropriate personnel action once the OIG investigation is concluded. Every city employee deserves a supportive and non-hostile workplace,” Parker said.

Critics continue to claim the department is plagued by a troubling, even sexist, culture where only 2 percent of the department’s firefighters are women. Calendar investigated

They pointing to a 2010 calendar currently being sold by the HFD Pipes and Drum team, which features a scantily clad and nearly bare-breasted female firefighter.

“It’s pretty indicative of your view of women,” said Joe Ahmad, the attorney for Draycott, Keyes and other female firefighters. “The problem with photos like this is they maintain the image of women who aren’t viewed in term of being competent at the workplace but merely as sexual objects.”

Parker said an Office of Inspector General’s investigation has begun into whether any departmental rules were broken regarding the calendar.

“This calendar is not sanctioned by HFD,” Parker said in her statement. “Of course, anyone has guaranteed rights to freedom of expression and speech. However, there is an expected code of conduct to which we want city employees to adhere.” For a good cause

Heather Arnold, a Houston firefighter, was the calendar’s model. While she admits to friends on her Facebook page that it is a little “risque,” she messaged the Chronicle that it is merely a fundraiser for a good cause.

“The calendar was created to raise money for our very dedicated Pipe and Drum Corp,” she wrote. “They participate in many events across the US on their own time and many times their own dime. I was honored to be able to help them. I hope that your intentions will be to portray HFD and our Pipe and Drum Team as well as the fund raiser in a positive light.”