RICHMOND, Va. -- The Richmond Fire Department has hired a new second in command, but WTVR CBS 6 has learned the national union that represents hundreds of thousands of firefighters censured him in 2010. Richmond Fire Chief Robert Creecy sent an email to all fire personnel on April 7 announcing that I. David Daniels would be their new deputy chief of operations starting on June 1. In his message, Creecy said Daniels “is an excellent fit for our department,” and that he was “impressed” with “Daniels’ credentials and past accomplishments.”
But, a censure issued in 2010 by the International Association of Firefighters when Daniels was the fire chief for the City of Renton in Washington state alleged “management decisions have created an environment in which firefighters on the job are concerned for their personal health and safety.”
According to the censure, Daniels was the chief in Renton between May 2006 and December 2009. A local IAFF representative said censures are issued as a way to show a vote of no confidence toward someone in a ranking position.
The censure alleged Daniels cancelled firefighter physicals, including the recommended tuberculosis tests, removed two engine companies from service which increased response times and had a debilitating effect on morale in the department.
When asked about the censure, Richmond Fire Department Spokesperson Lt. Christopher Armstrong said "the department has to do its due diligence before commenting to make sure no one’s privacy is violated."
"If it’s true, how could he be hired for the City of Richmond?" Richmond City Councilwoman and chairperson of public safety Reva Trammell said. "Our firefighters, their safety and the citizens of Richmond, that’s supposed to be number one, safety, and if he is doing some of those things that’s alleged in those reports, it’s very disturbing."
Keith Andes, President of Local 995 Richmond Firefighters Association, said the union was not consulted about the hire, but he would like to “talk to Daniels myself to better learn of his career and the decisions he made throughout his time in the fire service."
Richmond City Councilman Charles Samuels called the situation an administrative matter.
"I am sure the Mayor and Chief Administrative Officer will take this matter under consideration," Samuels said.
Trammell said she planned to bring the censure to the attention of her colleagues.
"We don’t need that right now. We need somebody that is going to uplift our firefighters," Trammell said.
Creecy wrote in his email that the city interviewed eight finalists for the position. Daniels, who is currently based in Atlanta, did not respond to interview requests. According to his LinkedIn profile, Daniels currently is the executive director of workforce safety for the City of Atlanta.