Reporting Kai Jackson
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ)– Anne Arundel County’s fire union takes a no-confidence vote against its top firefighter as support for county leaders continues to unravel. The move comes after County Executive John Leopold’s indictment on abuse of power charges.
Kai Jackson has more on the county’s uncertain future.
This vote is another example of public safety workers who are frustrated with county leadership.
A growing call for change in leadership in Anne Arundel County involving County Executive John Leopold, Police Chief James Teare and Fire Chief John Ray.
“He cannot function as the chief executive of this county any longer,” attorney Andrew Levy said.
On Thursday, professional firefighters in Anne Arundel County voted online for a no-confidence vote of Chief Ray.
With overwhelming results– 396-14– firefighters say they don’t have confidence in Chief Ray’s ability to lead the department mainly because of the 60 staff positions that are open.
Firefighters call it a dangerous budget-slashing move that could cost lives.
“The membership overwhelmingly has no faith at this point in his ability to keep guiding the fire department,” Craig Oldershaw of the Anne Arundel County Firefighters’ Union said.
The firefighters’ vote of no-confidence on the fire chief and the police union’s vote of no-confidence of Leopold appears to be an effort by some to restructure the leadership of Anne Arundel County.
Last week, Leopold was indicted by a grand jury on charges of misconduct in office. Despite calls to step down, Leopold says he’s innocent and will remain in office.
The firefighters’ unions says they will take the results of the no-confidence vote to the county executive and to Fire Chief Ray, but then again, the votes are not binding. They do not have the power to remove the officials themselves.
Firefighters say they support the Anne Arundel County Fraternal Order of Police’s call for Leopold to step down.