Broward News

Deerfield Beach Fire-Rescue Investigation Is Over, But Jury's Still Out

It looks like Deerfield Beach Fire-Rescue isn't very eager to boast about the thoroughness of its recent internal investigation. That is, the one that came after a March report that its firefighters were engaged in improper political conduct.

Since reporting on the department's findings nearly two weeks ago, I've made numerous calls to the station in hopes of finding out more about exactly how Assistant Chief Robert Weech conducted his investigation. Because surely there were some structures in place to ensure that he wasn't pressured by his boss, Chief Anthony Stravino, to bury the case and save the department from embarassment. And surely the firefighters questioned told convincing stories if they received such light penalties.

Well, no, we can't be sure, because after all this is Deerfield Beach, where mayors and commissioners get felony indictments, where scandal-plagued officials get reelected, even promoted.

When Deerfield Beach Fire-Rescue didn't return my calls, I enlisted the help of the city manager's office, but I was told yesterday that the chiefs haven't returned their calls either. Apparently, that service doesn't come as part of the insanely generous benefits package that the city gives its firefighters.

Now I've filed a public records request, and since actually talking to these tax-paid employees, I'll have to rely on tax-paid staff to dig into the files for me. Fine. I'll wait to see what that turns up.

But for those locals who like blogger Bett Willett wonder why my initial report on that investigation was "surprisingly mild," it's because I'm waiting to see more documentation before I record this episode in the annals of Deerfield Beach mismanagement.

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Thomas Francis