Fire union officer returns to work after suspension

March 23, 2004|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

The president of the city fire officer's union was allowed to return to work last night, four days after he exchanged a series of sharply worded e-mails with Fire Chief William J. Goodwin Jr. and was suspended from duty.

Stephan G. Fugate, president of Baltimore Fire Officers Association Local 964, still faces a charge of insubordination, which eventually will be adjudicated by an administrative hearing officer. Punishment could range from a reprimand to termination, Fugate said.

Fugate was suspended without pay Thursday, one day after he set off the e-mail exchange by posting a message on the union's Web site that criticized Goodwin for a plan to have "rotating closures" of four firehouses.

Goodwin took issue with the Web posting but said it was Fugate's "privilege," according to the e-mails, which Fugate provided to The Sun yesterday. But Goodwin said the union leader was insubordinate in a subsequent e-mail, in which Fugate told the chief, "I don't need your condescending attitude."

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