MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Discrimination and retaliation are two allegations made in lawsuits against the Montgomery Fire Department. Two firefighters have now filed separate suits against the department claiming their superiors threatened them with demotions, suspensions and even termination. If the alegations are true, they would be a violation of the firefighters' Constitutional rights.
A group of firefighters with the city of Montgomery is calling for help. During the last month calls have been made to the WSFA 12 Newsroom explaining internal dissention of the department.
In some cases the personnel issues have forced firefighters to seek legal action. WSFA 12 News looked into the claims at the Federal Courthouse downtown and asked Mayor Todd Strange and Fire Chief Milford Jordan to respond.
The department, now under fire itself, is accused of unlawful retaliation and discrimation. Specifically named as defendants in one suit: Former Mayor and current U.S. Congressman Bobby Bright, former City Executive Assistant Michael Briddell, Fire Chief Milford Jordan, Deputy Fire Chief J.J. Addie and Assistant Fire Chief Kelly Gordon.
"There are a handful of suits," explained Strange. "We have tried, and I think very successfully, opened the lines of communication..."
Chief Jordan strongly denied all the allegations in the suits. "Absolutely not true...," he said.
When asked if the suits may be a personal vendetta against him, Chief Jordan said, "Well, to be honest with you, I've been in the fire department for 25 years. December will be three years [as chief]...these things have been alleged since I've been chief. So, there again, it's a possibility."
Jordan added he doesn't know why anyone would have a personal vendetta against him.
While the two suits - filed by firefighters Ronnie Bozeman and Jennifer Jennings - are a matter of public record, other firefighters say they're only two of a handful of cases making similar claims against the department.
As for claims of suits being settled outside court, WSFA 12 News' sources say there are claims of close to a million dollars in lawsuit settlements. "Absolutely not," said Mayor Strange. "It's not even close to that amount of money."
Chief Jordan also denied the allegations of firefighters lives being in danger due to the dissention inside the fire department.
He encouraged the media to continue to investigate the matter, something WSFA 12 News intends to do.
WSFA 12 News is working to find out more on the allegations and any cash the city has paid out to settle the suits.