Texas Fire Captain Suspended Over Facebook Posts

A fire captain in Austin, Texas has been suspended for 30 days without pay for posting political comments on Facebook.

Captain Gregory Zenkner agreed to the terms of the discipline rather than face an indefinite suspension (a Texas euphemism for termination) or a demotion.

Among Captain Kenkner’s offending posts are:

  • “Hey Hillary, I’m not one of your minority, hands-out, entitled, easily-offended, whiney, unemployed, drain on society voters. I’m a hard working, tax paying, gun owning, mortgage paying, productive member of society. And I’m the deplorable one?”
  • “I doubt those future felons are reading about Washington or Lincoln. It’s about Omabey (sic) and what an incredible job he did. No FACTS about how he divided this nation and how he IS and will go down as the worst PRES in history!”


Fire Chief Rhoda Mae Kerr has been under fire by IAFF Local 975 for what Union President Bob Nicks characterized as excessive penalties for relatively minor offenses.

Here is a copy of the disciplinary notice: afd-zenkner-11-2016

More on the story.

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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