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Despite the fact he created a racy rap video using California’s Willow Oak Fire Protection District firehouse and fire truck and dropped the f-bomb in the video while in full department issued gear, I am ready to suggest that Captain Marcus (last name not known) be immediately promoted to fire chief. Why, you may ask? Because, despite his pretty awful lapse in judgment, the captain figured out before his own chief and a county attorney that what he did was stupid and needed to be addressed publicly and immediately.
This story has been playing out on television on KOVR-TV since Monday and on the pages of FireCritic.com. The rap video, while it lasts, is below. The latest story, done on Tuesday (above), has reporter Ron Jones tracking down the Willow Oak fire chief and the Assistant Yolo County counsel asking some very legitimate questions about this misuse of the public’s money and abuse of the fire department’s image. Both men essentially told reporter Jones to take a hike. Again, remember, as you watch the story and read about it below, the issue has already been in the news for an entire day. Yet these two can’t figure out the right thing to say.
Assistant Yolo County counsel Dan Cederborg tells CBS13 he doesn’t think the music video that a Willow Oak fire captain performed in while on duty, using the district’s equipment and building without county approval is a big deal.
But Cederborg downplayed the captain’s actions, saying he only went down the street and didn’t spend that much time with the rapper.
Marcus’ boss, Fire Chief Kim Timothy wasn’t apologetic, but defensive, claiming the firefighters rights were violated by CBS13’s cameras.
“I don’t want to comment on it until we make a decision internally,” Timothy said.
The answer isn’t to make excuses for something so obviously wrong. The answer isn’t to blame the reporter. The answer isn’t to defend the indefensible. None of those will make this go away and are all as stupid as participating in the video in the first place. The right answer goes something like this:
What I saw on the video should not have happened and does not reflect the work ethic of the men and women of the Willow Oak Fire Protection District. I’m personally embarrassed and apologize to all of our citizens about this misuse of their money and violation of their trust. We are taking immediate corrective action to make sure this does not happen again.
Now, back to why I think Captain Marcus should be promoted. Unlike the chief and the attorney, the captain apparently didn’t have any time to get his act together. He was ambushed at the fire station by the reporter on Monday. His first instinct was to run. Bad move. But, unlike the other two men, Marcus was smart enough to know not to make his terrible lapse in judgment any worse. He stopped running and instead turned to the reporter and camera and said:
“To disgrace the fire community like I did, I’m disgusted. Sorry for my actions. I never meant to do anything to jeopardize the fire service and my job and the people of this district and I apologize.”
Not bad for having to think on your feet while a camera is trained on you and he followed it up with a similar message on FireCritic.com. It’s a shame the two other men weren’t paying attention.