Firefighter’s Facebook Comments Now Front Page News in Memphis

The Memphis Fire Department is launching an investigation into comments that a firefighter and union representative made on Facebook earlier this year. Robert Kramer stepped down from Local 1784’s  Executive Board and issued apologizes for the comments.

Kramer, who was assigned to a station in Frayser, allegedly posted “The only gold in Frayser is in people’s mouth.” He also made a reference to his having to go to “one of the retarded schools in Frayser tomorrow”. The department transferred Kramer on Tuesday, but elected officials are saying that is not enough.

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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Garrity and Threats to Increase Punishment

Today’s burning question: Last week one of our drivers was written up. When the employee in question went before the Chief and asked to appeal the disciplinary action, he was threatened with a harsher discipline if he chose to move forward with his appeal. Is there a chance this violated the employee’s Garrity rights?