Firefighters Union: Red Wing fire chief “repeatedly lied, bullied, intimidated, retaliated”

RED WING, Minn. (FOX 47) — Red Wing’s fire chief Shannon Draper is back on the job after serving what has been reported to be a two-week suspension.

Draper said he couldn’t speak to the details of the discipline.  But the firefighters union said it took a  “Vote of No Confidence” in Chief Draper that led to an angry meeting which was then the basis of a second formal complaint, and led to the disciplinary action by the City Council.

City officials were not available to comment.  But the firefighters union, citing the city council’s decision to reinstate Chief Draper, told FOX 47 Friday it has no choice now but to “publicize” its unanimous vote against Draper as their supervisor.

“As was clearly stated to the City Administration and the City Council prior to their decision, the Red Wing Professional Firefighters have lost all trust in the Fire Chief,” said Peter Hanlin, President of Local 2078 of the International Association of Firefighters.  “He has repeatedly lied, bullied, intimidated and retaliated against our members.  We see no means by which Shannon Draper can regain the trust of his employees or effectively lead a group of dedicated people who do not feel safe in his presence or working under his direction.”

Hanlin said the dispute began April 18 when the Union filed a formal complaint with the city alleging violations of state labor laws and the City’s ethics policies, asking for a city investigation followed by action.  The union local president said when the city notified Draper a complaint had been filed, he called a department-wide meeting April 23 during which he then launched into a profanity-laced tirade to threaten and intimidate his employees.

When contacted by FOX 47, Draper said “I have a good department.  Where we or I can improve… we will do it.”

Draper deferred any comments about his discipline to city officials, however, calls to the city administrator and city clerk were not immediately returned.

Noel Sederstrom

Noel Sederstrom

Noel Sederstrom joined the KTTC-TV staff as News Director in February, 2008. He's a native Minnesotan, having grown up on a farm near Litchfield, and also spending a lot of time on Lake Vermilion near Tower-Soudan, where his grandfather Gust Saari worked in the Soudan Underground Mine. After studying journalism at the University of Minnesota-Minneapolis, Noel worked as a reporter, anchor, producer and Executive Producer at television stations in Duluth, Little Rock, Buffalo, Louisville and Kalamazoo, Michigan. Noel was the News Director at WWMT-TV in Kalamazoo for seven of his 18 years at the CBS affiliate before returning to Minnesota. He and his wife Cindy have two grown children and make their home in Rochester. Email Noel at nsederstrom@kttc.com

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