Gift Leads to Chief’s Termination

A chief officer in Florida has been terminated following allegations that he accepted $100 from a grateful citizen, and did not report it until confronted.

Deputy Chief Guy Wine of the Cocoa Beach Fire Department was fired yesterday. He was a 25 year fire service veteran, although he had only been with Cocoa Beach for the past 7 years.

Chief Wine was given the money on September 1, 2012 by a resident to be used for a “thank you” dinner for a fire crew following an elevator emergency. When the resident and two fire captains began inquiring about the money, Fire Chief Ryan Duckworth confronted Chief Wine.

Chief Wine was placed on administrative leave on September 20, 2012 as the matter was investigated. Following a “show cause” meeting September 25, he was terminated. In the termination letter Cocoa Beach city manager Charles Billias wrote: “Your actions have upset the resident, and shaken the trust and confidence of fire department staff.”

More on the story.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 45 years of fire service experience and 35 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, 4th ed. 2022) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

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