Friday, May 18, 2007

City removes fire chief after reports of 'mooning'

City officials have removed fire Chief Randall "Randy" Fernandez over an incident last week at his predecessor's retirement party.

Officials would not provide details, but two witnesses said Fernandez dropped his pants in front of a crowd, which included a city commissioner and his wife.

"He was relieved of duty as fire chief," said Chief Administrative Officer Richard Anderson, who would not elaborate about what happened at the Saturday party in his honor.

Fernandez, who has almost two decades with the department, succeeded Anderson in March 2006 after Anderson left to become Apopka's chief administrator. Fernandez could not be reached late Wednesday night.

"He's got great admiration for Mr. Anderson,'' said Vincent Fernandez, who said he had not previously heard about his son's alleged actions.

The incident became the talk of the town. Some at the party, who asked not to be identified because they did not want to be associated with the embarrassing incident, described the "mooning" this way:

Fernandez dropped his pants and put his "butt up against the window," one partygoer said. He then opened the window and again showed his bare buttocks to partygoers inside the building where Anderson was being given a belated retirement celebration. Anderson's parents were in attendance, but did not see anything, said the party attendee.

Witnesses said Commissioner Bill Arrowsmith and his wife had front-row seats to the display. Arrowsmith, who is out of town, did not comment on the incident when reached on his cell phone.

Mayor John Land also would not elaborate on the incident, and he directed questions to Anderson.

"There was an incident. Let him tell you," Land said Wednesday after a commission meeting in which Anderson thanked everyone for his retirement dinner.

Meanwhile, Fernandez -- who has a bachelor's degree in public administration and a master's in criminal justice -- has taken the past few days off.

Anderson said officials would look into replacing Fernandez as fire chief.

"I'm not sure whether we're going to terminate employment," Anderson said. "Is it enough taking him out of the position?"

Anderson said no complaints have been made against Fernandez.

Fla. Lottery Says Man's $500,000 Scratch-Off Ticket Appears To Be Misprint Rather Than Winner

How To Make A Million Dollars With Deal-A-Day Type Site