Skip to main content

St. Paul fire chief steps down following reprimand

Documents say Tim Butler retaliated against an employee.

St. Paul Fire Chief Tim Butler has stepped down from his role, the city announced Saturday morning. 

This comes a week after documents made public Butler had received a written reprimand in 2016 for retaliating against an employee.

According to the Star Tribune, an investigation was finished last year, but its findings weren't released publicly right away because Butler appealed. KSTP says the appeal was denied earlier this month and the documents were made public. You can see them here

The written reprimand, which is Dated Dec. 22, 2016, claimed that Butler "repeatedly questioned" an employee about why they filed a complaint against him. 

While the reprimand isn't very specific, it explains how Butler's actions may deter someone from making a complaint in the future – and that fits its definition of retaliation. 

"While it doesn't appear that it was intentional, your questioning ... did have a retaliatory impact," the document said. 

The Star Tribune says this was one of five misconduct complaints made against Butler. He also had a strained relationship with the fire department's union, which labeled him an "Anti-union chief," Kare 11 reports

About Butler

According to a news release, Butler has served as chief for 10 years. 

“The Saint Paul Fire Department is one of the best in the country,” said Mayor Coleman in a statement. “Over his decade of service as Chief, Tim Butler has been an important part of maintaining the excellent quality of service that SPFD delivers to our residents.”

Butler has asked to return to his previous role as fire emergency management and communications chief.

Assistant Fire Chief for Emergency Medical Services Matt Simpson will serve as the acting fire chief. 

Next Up

Dave Hutchinson

Dave Hutchinson has police license suspended for 30 days

The sheriff's suspension will begin on Nov. 22.

minnesota bureau of criminal apprehension - bca

Man with sword, officers who shot him in North Branch identified

The 31-year-old was shot multiple times in the Friday incident.

Jeff Plush

MN-based USA Curling 'reviewing' report that CEO ignored abuse in NWSL

Jeff Plush is under fire for multiple allegations made by U.S. women soccer players.

Axdahl's Garden Farm & Greenhouse

7 Minnesota pumpkin patches to visit this fall

Plenty of patches to pick the best pumpkin

slushy snow

Sven Sundgaard responds to AccuWeather's winter forecast

Take anything beyond a couple weeks with a grain of salt, warns meteorologist Sven Sundgaard.


Rage Against the Machine cancels rest of tour, including MN shows

The cancellations include a 2023 stop at the Target Center.

Screen Shot 2022-10-04 at 11.03.16 AM

Watch: Speeding drivers use Minneapolis bike lanes to overtake

Community members have called for better safety precautions in response.

Jamal Smith

Jamal Smith sentenced to life for Plymouth road rage killing

A guilty verdict was determined by a jury this summer.


Man arrested following deadly Minneapolis apartment fire

The apartment fire happened late Friday night.


Two St. Paul firefighters hurt battling morning house fire

Firefighters were on the scene for about four hours.

Thomas Harrigan

2 arrested in case of murdered St. Paul firefighter

Thomas Harrigan was shot in his home on Sept. 2.

Report: Dozens of hate incidents in MN following the election

The Southern Poverty Law Center says there were 867 hate-related incidents in the U.S. following the election.

Goats will feast on a St. Paul park this summer to keep it groomed

Take a picture and carry on – these adorable goats have work to do.

Goats will feast on a St. Paul park this summer to keep it groomed

Take a picture and carry on – these adorable goats have work to do.

Only 5 percent of what fire departments do involves a fire

A new St. Paul report shows most of the department's calls involve medical emergencies.