Medal of valor fire chief fighting for his job
The former fire chief for the city of Kingfisher is fighting to get his job back. The city manager fired Chief Randy Poindexter earlier last month. Now Poindexter has filed an appeal to be put back in charge of the town's fire department.
In a letter to city board of commissioners, Poindexter's attorney Matt Smith writes the termination was "an orchestrated farce intended only to discredit a faithful public servant and hero." It was just three years ago when Poindexter attended a ceremony in Washington D.C. where he was awarded the President's Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor for his efforts to save people during the 2007 floods in Kingfisher.
City Manger Dave Slezickey says he cannot comment on a pending personnel action, but says he did send multiple memorandums to Poindexter that "provided guidance and direction." He says Poindexter had ample notice to the reasons he was to be terminated that ended with a 12 minute hearing. "He did not request additional time; he demanded that he would not meet at this time unless given more time," Slezickey told Fox 25.
Poindexter's attorney says there was a request for additional time to prepare for the hearing and up until the final notice of termination the city failed to provide enough specifics about the reasons for his firing.
Chief Poindexter was railroaded into being terminated, a 12 minute hearing was conducted by city manager Dave Slezicky; he fired Chief Poindexter for basically doing his job," Smith said.
According to documents provided by Poindexter, one of Slezickey's concerns was Poindexter working outside his scheduled duty shift. However, the three specific days mentioned in his termination memorandum were times when Poindexter was responding to emergencies. Including a time when emergency crews made a wrong turn and Poindexter was first on the scene to provide emergency CPR to a dying man.
"I think you can ask his widow and she's very thankful that Randy Poindexter didn't call Dave Slezicky first and ask permission before he showed up at her house that night to try and save her husband," Smith told Fox 25.
"I had never heard that, but any employee that accrues compensatory time requires prior approval," Slezickey said. Slezickey said he did not know the details of the incidents that Poindexter worked without his approval.
Slezickey also wrote Poindexter failed to get permission to go on a trip to the nation's capital. Though, Poindexter did write a memo to Slezickey requesting that permission, but never heard back from the city manager. In that memo Poindexter wrote he was paying for the entire trip himself and the purpose of the annual trip was to lobby for federal firefighting funds for Oklahoma, along with training from the National Fire Academy. Poindexter says his self-funded trips over the past six years have resulted in nearly $500,000 in federal funds for the city of Kingfisher.
"He's going to get federal funds for Kingfisher?" Slezickey asked when we showed him the letter Poindexter wrote to him. Slezickey says he never knew the purpose of the trip was to lobby for federal funds for the city. He refused to say if he thought such a trip was appropriate for the city's fire chief to take citing the ongoing personnel action.
"Randy wants the city of Kingfisher to know that he did his job correctly and still wants to be their fire chief," Smith said.