Fire Department employees seek action against Fire Chief

The Worth County Board of Commissioners says they will discuss personnel matters, including the fire chief, at a meeting on Tuesday

FOX 31 has received dozens of emails from Worth County Fire and Rescue employees saying Fire Chief Jason Brooks is corrupt and has an attitude that is driving away employees and volunteers.

No employees â" full-time or part-time â" or volunteers at the department want to be named or speak on camera because they say they are scared they would be fired.

Employees say there have been numerous incidents involving alcohol including a case when Brooks alledgedly went to a liquor store in the fire chief truck, purchased alcohol, then proceeded to drink it in the fire chief truck; employees claim a commissioner has video of this incident.

Fire and Rescue employees say Brooks's attitude has also driven away numerous volunteers since he was promoted by the Board of Commissioners from Assistant Fire Chief to Fire Chief; they say the department once had 160 volunteers and now only has 20. One employee says the lack of volunteers means less people to help with fires and other emergencies in Worth County, which is a public safety concern.

An employee who wrote to FOX 31 via email says another part-time employee was denied training opportunities and then fired by Brooks because he and the former employee were involved in a personal situation outside of work which should not have impacted the fire department.

Fire employees say the issue has been addressed before the Board of Commissioners. One employee says a vote was taken to decide Brooks's future in the department.

The vote was 3-1 in favor of keeping Brooks on staff, with Commissioner Bettye Bozeman being the lone vote against Brooks.

"The staff and volunteers of this once great fire department have taken every recourse they know and have stood together to bring these issues to light. Regardless of their efforts they have been basically ignored by the Board....there have been 'workshops' and meetings with all involved but yet no results," says one employee in an email.

FOX 31 did extend invitations for commissioners to discuss the fire chief matter, but they declined, saying they want to wait until after a meeting about personnel that will be held Tuesday at 6 p.m. in the Worth County Courthouse. Commissioners say the matter will be addressed then.

Bozeman did say that she fully supports the fire department's employees.

Commissioner Billy McDonald says the board is currently in the midst of trying to find the "right truths" and a fair outcome for both parties involved. He says he knows many people at the department were not pleased by Brooks's promotion to Fire Chief. McDonald says Brooks never asked to become fire chief and was not totally confident in accepting it, but did so because he had the Board of Commissioner's support.

FOX 31 will continue to follow this story and bring you updates on FOX 31 News and on