Twenty NOFD firefighters protest, call for Chief to step down

Twenty NOFD firefighters protest, call for Chief to step down

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The controversy over the removal of the confederate-era monuments leads to a call for the New Orleans fire chief to step down.

About 30 firefighters protested Saturday, airing a number of grievances.

They gathered five days after some of their own were called to duty, not to battle fires, but to take down a monument that commemorated the Battle of Liberty Place.

"Hey hey ho ho...Timmy McConnell's got to go," they chanted.

More than two-dozen firefighters protested outside department headquarters calling for their chief to step down.

"We're here today to announce our formal motion that was passed months ago, with a no confidence vote against Timmy McConnell," said firefighters' association head Nick Felton.

The protest was interrupted several times, with some firefighters driving by in their trucks.

Firefighters say about a half dozen of their own were used Monday morning to tear down the Liberty monument, a job they say they aren't trained for.

"We fight fires, when Grandma Jones is trapped on third floor, we go out and get em," said Felton.

They also say the divisive issue over tearing down Confederate era monuments, is hurting the department.

Firefighters say their issues with McConnell go deeper. They say their equipment is run down, and they are angry about a relatively new promotion system which requires successful completion of a ten minute interview with the chief.

"We're tired of these promotions scarred with political favoritism," said Felton.

The mayor placed the  monument removal process on hold until after Jazz Fest. Then he said a decision will be made on what to replace them with.
In the meantime, the protests continue.

City spokesman Tyronne Walker responded with this statement Saturday night, saying "Nick Felton and the union have proven they will exploit any situation for political gain. This is a new low to attack firefighters for helping to protect lives. Chief McConnell and the hardworking men and women of NOFD risk their lives everyday to protect the people of New Orleans. Whether it is running into a burning building or supporting homeland security operations throughout the year. We will not be intimidated or deterred because this is the right thing to do."

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