Facebook Post by Illinois Firefighter Prompts Outcry from Elected Officials

Elected officials in the Village of Swansea, Illinois are not happy about a Facebook post by a volunteer firefighter. FF Kody Koudelka is accused of making the obscene post about the village board. Following a request by Fire Chief John McGuire, the post was removed.

Village trustee Susan Schultz said  “I think it was very offensive, and I think it lacked good judgment on behalf of an employee working for the village, and I agree that discipline is necessary… This is a severe image of what our employees are saying about this board.”

Schultz claims Koudelka has done this before and needs to be punished. Mayor Jim Rauckman said “I thought it was a very poor reflection and embarrassing for our village the way it was stated.”

Trustee Brian Wells said “It’s not flattering, but I think he has the right to say it and there’s probably a bunch of people who agree with him. … I don’t think we should do anything. I don’t want to create any more rift with the fire department.”

Chief McGuire said “I don’t know what policy he violated. … I think it was a bad post. He should have had a lot more tact. It made him look bad plus it made the fire department look bad. … I agree it was offensive, but offensive isn’t against the law. He didn’t break a village policy. He didn’t break any law. … I know it’s wrong. He knows it’s wrong. Everybody knows it’s wrong.”

More on the story.

By the way… have we discussed the need for fire departments to have social media policies?

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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