Marion firefighters calling for Chief to step down over inappropriate comments

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MARION, Ind. – Marion firefighters are calling for the removal of Fire Chief Geoff Williams following what they say are inappropriate comments made to a fellow firefighter following a suicide training program.

“I thought it was pretty disgusting, and went way too far," Marion firefighter Steve Johnson said.

CBS4 is told a firefighter came to Chief Williams following mandatory suicide awareness training. Firefighters who were there said the 20-year veteran told the Chief he had checked off boxes at the end of a mental health questionnaire, and that he may be getting a call about his wellbeing.

Captain Jordan Lamb said the Chief responded with, "We will let your family know what a great guy you were." Lamb said he followed the comment with another remark that he believes mocked another firefighter who had died.

“We as a union wanted something done discipline wise because as a leader of our fire department we come to you, you’re the one who’s supposed to have our back," Captain Lamb said.

“When somebody does reach out, which is not that common, [they expect] the person they are reaching out to will be there," Johnson said.

The firefighters union took the complaint to Mayor Jess Alumbaugh. The city said they took disciplinary action, but couldn’t comment on personnel matters. Captain Lamb said the Mayor told him it was a verbal warning.

“I laughed and said completely unacceptable," Captain Lamb said he told the Mayor.

CBS4 spoke briefly with Chief Williams, but he cannot comment on the situation.

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