SC Firefighter Terminated Over Facebook Posts

A South Carolina firefighter has been terminated over several social media posts that were found to be racist. Georgetown County firefighter Bob Kosto was fired last week one day after county officials were informed of the posts.

The posts were reported last Wednesday following an argument Kosto got into on Facebook over facemasks.

The Post and Courier quoted County PIO Jackie Broach as saying last Thursday:

  • After review, the decision to sever our relationship with Mr. Kosto was made today.
  • We don’t tolerate racism on any level. In the last almost 24 hours, we’ve received numerous emails from the media as well as the community with concerns.
  • If we can’t trust employees, that’s a problem for us. Our emergency responders, especially, need to have the trust of the community.
  • You certainly have First Amendment rights, but you are subject to the consequences of he things you say.
  • We have a lot of employees and we just don’t have time to monitor their social media. Additionally, many of them, like my account, are locked down.
  • Hopefully, we wouldn’t be able to see a lot of it.
  • But certainly if anyone tips us off to something, then we will certainly review it and if that behavior is inappropriate, we will act accordingly.

Here are some of the offensive posts provided by the county:

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.
x

Check Also

Mass Civil Service Upholds Discipline of Springfield Lieutenant

The Mass Civil Service Commission has upheld the discipline against a Springfield fire lieutenant for attempting to use the department’s disciplinary system to “target” another lieutenant with whom he had a disciplinary history. The case points to the need for fire departments to have a well drafted discipline policy.

North Carolina Captain Terminated for Social Media Post Claims Free Speech Violation

A North Carolina fire captain who was terminated in 2023 for sharing social media posts the city considered to be offensive, has filed suit alleging a violation of his right to free speech. Captain Dustin Jones filed suit against the City of Greensboro in Guilford County Superior Court.