Deerfield Beach Fire Rescue Lt. Howard Noland -- husband of Deerfield Beach Mayor Peggy Noland -- has been suspended for a day without pay following an investigation into allegations that he was insubordinate when he placed his own lock on a locker at the fire station where he worked.
The problem started in July after Chief Chad Brocato learned that Noland had refused to use the standard-issue locks provided by the department, claiming that they didn't work and blaming that lock for what he said were
multiple break-ins to his locker.
According to the chief's investigative report, which has been posted on Chaz Stevens' blog, no police report was filed and Noland's claims of break-ins were unsubstantiated.
Battalion Chief Tom Ray ordered Noland to remove his personal lock and to use the lock he was issued, citing department policy. Noland sent an email saying, "with or without your permission I will be getting a more secure lock."
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That note led to the chief telling Ray and an assistant chief to have a talk with Noland. But according to the investigation, Noland ignored their advice and placed a personal lock on his locker. Chief Bracato writes:
The conduct displayed by R/LT Noland is an egregious act of insubordination that this organization cannot afford to take lightly. The rules are in place to provide order and structure to the organization... In this case, an officer not only violated a rule but also acted in a manner that was in direct defiance of direction by his superiors.
It's not the first time that Noland has brought unflattering publicity to the city's First Family. Last year, video surveillance footage raised questions about the legitimacy of a disability claim that Noland made in 2001.