Tulsa Firefighters Give Chief 'No Confidence' Vote

Tuesday, July 11th 2017, 5:44 pm
By: News On 6

Tulsa's firefighters say they've lost confidence in their chief, Ray Driskell.

About 400 of them voted recently — that's about half of Tulsa's firefighters — and nearly 80 percent voted no confidence.

6/28/2017 Related Story: Tulsa Firefighters To Give Chief 'No Confidence' Vote

The members of Local 176 say they hope this vote gets Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum's attention and the city council's, and that they'll step in to investigate their concerns.

They say these issues with Driskell didn't just pop up, but have been ongoing for the past five years.

They say Driskell has two lawsuits pending against him and has already cost taxpayers $155,000 in others.

They say they have an issue with him having a city-issued firearm on duty, without being CLEET certified.

They say he demotes people without following proper procedures and plays favorites with his friends.

"We are up to over 20 active grievances and arbitrations and most of the time, that should be one or two, 10 at the most," said Jim Nance, Local 176 president.

They say they were disappointed by the mayor's investigation into this recorded conversation between the chief and Firefighter Nick Gillespie.

Bynum issued a statement in response to the vote Tuesday afternoon.

"In my time as mayor, I have worked with our team at the City toward the goal of establishing the best workplace for public servants in the nation," Bynum said. "I respect and value the comments of the membership at IAFF Local 176. Our firefighters are heroes. They have provided specific points of concern, and I will review each of those with the respectful consideration they deserve."

They say no one from the city contacted Gillespie or Nance, who was also present.

They hope the mayor and city council will help them make things better.

"It's not my job to after somebody else's job. That's not what I'm after. I'm after improving the situation we work under everyday and that's what I want to see," Nance said.

The last time firefighters voted "no confidence" in their chief was in 1992 with Tom Baker, who remained chief for 17 more years before he retired.

The union realizes that could happen now too, but, they say this was their last ditch effort to let people know what's happening and how low it's made morale.

Driskell gave up his gun after media reports, even though the city said he could legally have it.

Calls to Driskell's office were not returned.