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  • Fire Department Chaplain FIRED?

    CINCINNATI (AP) - A fire department chaplain who said he was
    trying to unify the predominantly white fire union and the black
    firefighters' association has been fired from the volunteer
    position.
    The Rev. Mike Paraniuk, 52, was fired Thursday by Cincinnati
    fire Chief Robert Wright, who said the volunteer chaplain's focus
    on race relations had drawn complaints from some firefighters who
    argued the priest was getting too involved in departmental matters.
    The union and the black firefighters' association have been
    divided for years over racial issues.
    Paraniuk said Saturday that he had made it his goal to unify the
    two groups after he saw a church filled with black and white
    firefighters at the funeral of black firefighter Oscar Armstrong
    III, who was killed on duty in March.
    "When he thinks that he's going to be the peacemaker, I don't
    need him to do that," Wright said. "That's my position, that he
    should've stayed out of that."
    Mayor Charlie Luken said Wright called him Friday to tell him
    he'd removed Paraniuk. Luken said Wright told him the priest had
    become a problem.
    Wright also said some firefighters had complained of the amount
    of time Paraniuk spent with them at the fire houses.
    "This is a moral issue," Paraniuk said of the department's
    racial divisions. "As the chaplain, I'm the spiritual leader and
    it's my job to address the moral issues."
    He said he would like to be reinstated as a volunteer, but
    Wright said that won't happen.
    "When you're a volunteer, you have to follow the directions of
    the person that appointed you," Wright said. "He's supposed to be
    helping me keep my firefighters whole."

    (Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

  • #2
    There's more to this story than that. I posted a link to some local coverage in the main forum.

    There is some level of racial tension inside Cincy FD. I'm not sure how much. I did 8 shifts there during medic school and didn't see anything, but that's no where near the same as working there. I do know that a number of years ago (perhaps 10) a number of black firefighters left the CFD IAFF local and formed their own organization: CAAFA - the Cincinnati African American Firefighters Assoc. There have been some efforts lately to reconcile the two groups. There are allegations that Cincinnati's chief has shown favoritism to CAAFA, in particular because several of his relatives hold leadership positions in it.

    The local Cincy FD members message board largely supports the chaplain. There are also undertones of racial tension in some of the messages there. That is exactly what the chaplain was trying to heal. I've read his messages and they are not confrontational and urge people to work together.
    Proud to be honored with IACOJ membership. Blessed by TWO meals cooked by Cheffie - a true culinary goddess. Expressing my own views, not my organization's.

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    • #3
      Reinstated

      CINCINNATI (AP) - A fire department chaplain who was fired after
      a dispute over issues that included his efforts to unify two
      firefighters organizations has been reinstated.
      Firefighters Union Local 48, most of whose members are white,
      and the Cincinnati African-American Firefighters Association have
      been divided for years over racial issues.
      City Manager Valerie Lemmie announced Wednesday that differences
      over the Rev. Mike Paraniuk's role in the department have been
      resolved and that he will resume the duties of volunteer chaplain.
      She said Paraniuk will continue to wear a firefighter's patch
      and uniform and will focus his ministry on the private spiritual
      needs of firefighters and their families. She also said he will
      maintain the confidentiality of his office and won't stay overnight
      in firehouses.
      Paraniuk, 52, was fired last week by Fire Chief Robert Wright,
      who said the chaplain's focus on race relations had drawn
      complaints from some firefighters who thought he was getting too
      involved in departmental matters.
      Paraniuk said then that he had made it his goal to unify the two
      groups after he saw a church filled with black and white
      firefighters at the funeral of Oscar Armstrong III, a black
      firefighter who was killed on duty in March.
      Wright had said that he didn't need Paraniuk to be a peacemaker.
      He also said some firefighters had complained about the amount of
      time Paraniuk spent at firehouses.
      Wright said Wednesday that he is glad the dispute was resolved.
      Paraniuk said he is looking forward to again helping
      firefighters with their spiritual needs.
      "This is a time of healing as we move forward," he said.

      (Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
      Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
      Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

      *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
      On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

      Comment

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