Red Wing fire chief lacks 'ability and temperament' for job, firefighters say

Local firefighters have unanimously voted on a "No Confidence" resolution.
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Firefighters in Red Wing have unanimously voted approve a resolution of No Confidence against their boss, Fire Chief Shannon Draper.

A Friday news release from the local firefighters' union, Red Wing Professional Firefighters, says members are concerned Draper "lacks the ability and temperament" to manage the department:

He has also shown an "ongoing pattern of dishonesty and hostility toward his employees," the release adds.

The union lays out a series of incidents going back to April, when they first filed a formal complaint about Draper to the city; it was about violations of state labor laws as well as city ethics policies.

When the chief learned of that complaint, the union says, he called a department-wide meeting where he threatened and intimidated employees "during a profanity-laced tirade that constituted additional violations of laws and policies."

He was placed on leave shortly thereafter, and in May, the union adopted the No Confidence resolution. 

So why are we only hearing about it now?

"We had hoped that we would not need to publicized this action," the release says; "unfortunately, the City Council chose to allow Chief Draper to return to work following a short suspension leaving us no other option" but to let the public know.

They express regret that the announcement may damage the reputation of the department "for which we proudly work," but say they see "no means by which Shannon Draper can regain the trust" of his employees.

"He has repeatedly lied, bullied, intimidated and retaliated against" the dedicated people he leads, "who do not feel safe in his presence or working under his direction."

Draper previously worked for the fire department in Vermillion, South Dakota, and became Red Wing's fire chief in 2016. 

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