Alabama Fire Chief Terminated For Recording Hearing

The fire chief in Boaz, Alabama has been terminated by the city council because he recorded conversations without the knowledge of those being recorded.

Fire Chief Mike Sparks was terminated this evening for a “betrayal of trust” associated with his recording a hearing on July 22. According to media reports the hearing was described as a “promotion hearing”.

Alabama is a one-party consent state, meaning that the consent of everyone involved in a conversation is not required to record it, so long as one-party to the conversation records or consent to another recording. Chief Spark’s attorney argued that council members and the personnel director knew he recorded previous meetings without objection. They are considering an appeal to circuit court.

 

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.
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