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Documents reveal why firefighters voted no-confidence against former Waco fire chief

Posted: 7:06 PM, Jan 19, 2024
Updated: 2024-01-19 20:14:33-05

WACO, Texas — Back in October, 25 News told you about the no-confidence vote against former Waco fire chief Gregory Summers. That vote came from his colleagues with the Waco Professional Fire Fighters Association.

We filed an open records request for the union vote letter back in October.

The city of Waco challenged our request and asked the Texas Attorney General to withhold the documents.

Four months later, we finally heard back.

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Attorney General Letter
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Attorney General

The Attorney General's office struck down the City of Waco's challenge, and we now have the document with the allegations against Summers.

180 ballots were submitted, and 98.89 percent of them cast a vote of no confidence in Summers’ leadership.

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No-confidence vote
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no-confidence vote

The Firefighters union claim summers made verbal assaults towards members, created a hostile work environment, gave inadequate management skills, ignored safety concerns and showed apathy for injured and killed firefighters.

Reporter Dominique Leh reached out to the City of Waco asking the status of Chief Summers, they released this statement, thanking him for his service.They confirm his last day was Dec. 31 2023, and the search for his replacement remains ongoing.

“The City of Waco thanks chief Gregory Summers for his contribution of service to the Waco fire department. Chief summers retired from the city effective December 31, 2023, and Chief Kevin Mcgee is currently serving as the interim fire chief. The city anticipates the launch of a national search for the next fire chief in the next few months.”

We reached out to the City of Waco about Summers' tenure,the city continues to claim any information on the case is confidential, despite the Texas AG ruling otherwise.

“The public information act includes certain exceptions that may apply to the disclosure of information. The City of Waco requested a ruling on the release of this document from the Office of the Attorney General since we deemed it a confidential record of personnel information.”

But here's what Local 478 President Philip Burnett said about his management back in October, “I am unhappy we came to a decision such as this... but it is also my opinion that our hand has been forced... right now the body is starving for leadership…"

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Local 478 no-confidence vote

25 asked Burnett to elaborate on the verbal assaults, unacceptable leadership, and why his previous statement thanked the chief for his contributions, his statement said,

“The Waco Fire Department made up of the members of the Waco Professional Fire Fighters Association Local 478, has and will continue to serve the citizens and visitors to our city with professional service. Several issues arose that needed to be addressed inside of our department. Labor and management worked to try and resolve these matters between us. Unfortunately a resolve did not materialize. These issues were brought to city management. The Chief retired. These matters are resolved and we consider them moot. We are moving forward and will continue to serve our community to the best of our ability.”