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Bedford Firefighter Demoted
Updated October 16, 2014 4:04 AM
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(BEDFORD) - A Bedford firefighter was demoted Wednesday after a long discussion by the Bedford Board of Works.

Bedford Fire Department Captain Jeff Key was demoted to the rank of lieutenant.

Mayor Shawna Girgis, Fire Chief Jon Wagner and the firefighter, Jeff Key, all declined to discuss what led to the decision for the board to meet and demote Key.

Key has been with the department since 1989 and was promoted to captain on a probationary basis in January 2013.

"A series of evaluations were completed by the fire chief, as well as others, regarding Jeff's performance as captain, which resulted in a recommendation that he return to the rank of lieutenant," Girgis wrote in a press release. "Per state statute, public safety personnel, which includes members of the fire and police departments, have the right to appeal recommendations regarding change in rank and other disciplinary issues to the members of the board of works and safety. That is why, at Captain Jeff Key's request, a hearing was held that specifically addressed the reasons given for the recommendation that he return to the rank of lieutenant."

At the hearing, witnesses were called, evidence presented and questions asked by board members.

"Today's decision was a difficult one because Jeff Key is a dear friend to all of us and is truly loved by the men that he works with every day," Girgis wrote. I believe that this truth emphasizes the level of importance placed upon public safety by this administration. insuring the safety of our citizens is the highest priority for the city of Bedford. Without public safety and security the other services and programs that the city of Bedford and our many partners provide are of little or no value.:

"Demoting an officer has not been done for many, many years in the city of Bedford. While I certainly hope this scenario is not repeated, the citizens of Bedford can rest assured we will dedicate the time and financial resources necessary to deal appropriately with public safety personnel issues despite the personal and professional challenges that is may create for us individually and corporately," She added.

Wagner says a captain is part of the leadership team, with the chief and battalion chiefs. A lieutenant is in charge of one of the two outlying stations. Wagner says Key will move back to the lieutenant position immediately. He has not made a decision on who will be the new captain.

Under the current salary ordinance, a fire department captain makes $45,821.62 per year. A lieutenant makes $44,392.66.

Key has the right to take the issue to civil court should be choose to do so.

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