Fire Union Threatens to Boot Chief Herminio Lorenzo

By Alex Izaguirre
The incoming president of the county firefighters union, Dominick Barbera, is demonstrating a terrible lack of ethics in his personal feud with Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Chief Herminio Lorenzo.

This past December 9, sent Lorenzo an audaciously snarky letter mocking the chief's proposal to require all county firefighters to report traffic citations, arrests, or involvement in criminal actions.

"If it was your intention to deliver this as an early Christmas present, I must respectfully decline your generous gift as its costs far exceeds what our employees are permitted to accept in accordance with our county's gift policy," Barbera wrote.

The union official accused Lorenzo of drafting the new rule to "justify the legion of police officers assigned to the fire department's internal affairs bureau." Barbera closed his letter with a threat: If Lorenzo continues "the harassment, intimidation and threats against our members," the fire union is going to kick the county fire department out of its Doral headquarters.

Barbera mistakenly claims the building is owned by the fire union. Property records list Miami-Dade County as the owner.

Essentially, Barbera doesn't want firefighters to be held accountable when they do something wrong. He'd rather keep on lid on any scandals involving the rank-and-file. "He doesn't like that he can't get away with anything anymore like he did in the past," says Miami-Dade Fire Rescue spokeswoman Elizabeth Calzadilla-Fiallo. "We tried policing ourselves and it didn't work. We have to be held accountable to the taxpayers."

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