• 66°

Flaggs says decision on Danczyk post coming July 6

Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said he continued to stand by Fire Chief Craig Danczyk and announced the Board of Mayor and Aldermen will reach a decision on the fire chief’s situation when it meets July 6.

Flaggs appointed Danczyk fire chief in July 2017 after taking office for his second term.

Danczyk came under criticism for a post he made early in June on his personal Facebook page that involved protecting his home and family and included the comment, “I got 40 round magazines and (2) ARs.”

Flaggs said a black firefighter about the same time made derogatory comments about whites on his personal Facebook page but did not identify the firefighter, citing the city’s personnel policy.

The board discussed the comments at its June 10 and June 15 meetings. The comments resulted in the board changing the city’s social media policy.

The mayor said at Thursday’s board meeting he has been accused by some people of intentionally ignoring the comments by both men and “putting it under the carpet.”

He said the board would not discuss the matter Thursday, “But we have every intention of taking it up at the next meeting July 6 and coming out with a decision. There is not a decision in this city that I will sweep under the rug. I am the most transparent mayor a person is ever going to see.

“I believe in being fair, I believe in our process, I believe in methodically doing things, I believe in research and I believe in being right about the decisions I make,” Flaggs said. “But if there is any question about where I stand with this chief, I stand with him. And if it takes being defeated because I stand for what’s right and I’m with him, then so it be.”

According to the city’s amended social network policy for the fire department, employees maintain their First Amendment rights, “But any speech or expression, even in a personal capacity causing disruption or that undermines the effectiveness and/or operation of the department is prohibited.

“Employees shall not engage in posting any material which reflects negativity on any other city employee or official, this department, or the fire and EMS professions, or which could compromise any emergency scene of an investigation.”

Under the subtitle of “procedures,” the policy lists 14 items for employees to follow while networking. According to the policy, failure to comply could result in disciplinary action, including termination.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

email author More by John