Minnesota Chief Resigns Due to Culture of Hostility

A “culture of hostility”. That is a claim that more than a few fire chiefs can relate to. In the case of Brooklyn Park Fire Chief Kenneth Prillaman, that hostility came at the hands of a councilman who is also a firefighter.

Last night, the Brooklyn Park City Council voted 6-0 to approve a severance package for Chief Prillaman who was otherwise poised to file suit against the city for what he termed an “unfair, hostile work environment.”

Brooklyn Park Mayor Jeffrey Lunde and City Councilman Rich Gates were quite blunt in directing the blame at Councilman Mark Mata, himself a paid-on-call firefighter.

Fox9 quoted Councilman Gates as saying ““We have one person who’s trying to ruin the city, ultimately.” Mayor Lunde was quoted as saying “For me this is a bad case of deja vu because I’ve been here. About ten years ago, the predecessor, the same council member, went after the other fire chief. And so that’s been kind of the question is ‘We’re here again?’ So it’s not the fire chiefs, it’s about a vendetta and I think what’s suffering is the city.”

The settlement calls for Chief Prillaman to receive six months of wages plus an additional $35,000 to release the City from the threat of litigation.

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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