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Former fire chief claims race discrimination against WF&R

  • Written by Don Mann
Former Woodinville Fire & Rescue chief Ira David Daniels has filed a charge of discrimination against the fire district with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The claim was filed with the EEOC on Sept.9 and received by WF&R on Sept.19. In it, Daniels indicated the alleged discrimination was based on “race” and “retaliation” and included these particulars: “I am employed as fire chief. The last two chiefs were treated more favorably than I am being treated. The previous two chiefs are white.

I am African American. I believe that the fire district is planning to end my contract, or force me to quit, due to my race, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended.”

On Aug. 31 the WF&R board of commissioners sent Daniels a “separation agreement” proposal consisting of a six-month severance package including educational benefits not to exceed $9,500, as board chair Tim Osgood noted Daniels was enrolled in a doctoral program that was part of his contract.

On Sunday Osgood said Daniels had not yet accepted the board’s proposal.

Osgood was asked if the board ended his contract because he was African American, as Daniels alleged. “No, absolutely not,” he said.

Were the last two chiefs treated more favorably than Daniels was treated, as alleged?

“No, absolutely not.”

Daniels, whose 19-month tenure as WF&R chief was tumultuous almost from the start in January 2010, was relieved of his duties on August 8 2011, three weeks after the Woodinville firefighters’ union (Local

2950) delivered a 59-0 vote of “no confidence” in a resolution.

Previous WF&R chief Dennis Johnson was fired in June of 2009 and filed a wrongful termination suit against the fire district a year later.

Asked about the litigation’s current status, Osgood said the majority of the suit has been dismissed by King County Superior Court.

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