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City board takes no action against Danczyk, firefighter for social media comments

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen on Monday took no disciplinary action against Vicksburg Fire Chief Craig Danczyk and another firefighter for making what some people said were offensive posts on social media.

The decision came after a 30-minute executive session at Monday’s board meeting. Both posts were made in late May during the protests over the death of George Floyd during his arrest in Minneapolis, Minn. Danczyk issued an apology for his post after the board’s actions.

“We are aware that these posts are an emotional response to the citizens of Vicksburg and others across the state weighing in on both sides of the issue,” the board said in a written statement.

On the advice of outside counsel, the statement continued, the board determined that, “While neither post reflected the views of the mayor or the Board of Aldermen, it was ultimately determined that no employment action be taken against both employees.

“The city of Vicksburg respects the First Amendment rights of the citizens, including those employed by the city of Vicksburg.”

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

“My comments were against looting and rioting, and made in the context of protecting family and property,” Danczyk said in his apology. “It was not my intent to be insensitive during a difficult time for our nation and local community, and I am deeply sorry if it may have caused offense. In the future, I will be more sensitive to other peoples’ viewpoints. I am committed to the success of the Vicksburg Fire Department, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, and the City of Vicksburg.”

Flaggs said the 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.

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.

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