Detroit Fire and EMS captain suspended over racist posts gets job back

Posted at 6:43 PM, Nov 20, 2017

Six months ago we told you Detroit Fire EMS Captain Tim Goodman was suspended and then fired for racist and inappropriate Facebook posts.

Monday we learn he'll soon be back on the job, in a position of leadership. 

RelatedGrowing concern over alleged racism, anti-semitism in Detroit Fire Dept.

Not long ago a firefighter was fired for bringing a watermelon to work, so an EMS Captain who has allegedly posted more than a hundred Facebook posts like one making fun of Mexican immigrants and women, another stating the religion of Islam is hostile and will ruin businesses and families - to hear this man gets to keep his job is surprising to say the least. 

It's upsetting to some of the people who will have to work beside him and be managed by him. Several spoke to 7 Action News on the condition of anonymity to share serious concerns they don't feel are being addressed.

"There's a lot of anger right now, a lot of fear and people are concerned about their livelihood," says one of three employees who have worked for Detroit Fire and EMS for more than 50 years combined.

They say they are speaking on behalf of many others who were afraid of the backlash if they spoke out.

Detroit Fire EMS Captain Tim Goodman was suspended in May, and subsequently fired for posting more than 100 allegedly racist posts including this photo of a boy holding a goat with the caption "when your little car bomber brings home his first girlfriend"and many others.

After an arbitration hearing it was decided Goodman will soon be back on the job, which leaves a lot of questions. 

"You are responsible for everything from discipline to field operations to man power to how a field operation is ran."

"How can we expect that you will manage in a fair and unbiased manner?" 

And what about the diverse community of people who live in Detroit?

"Who would he choose to save first? We're in a life saving business!" 

 In a statement Fire Commissioner Eric Jones said:

The Fire Department moved for termination, which was then subject to the labor arbitration process under the collective bargaining agreement. The arbitrator decided to reinstate this individual against the recommendation of the Department.

"If he has to have his job back, fine, but place him somewhere he can be closely monitored," one employee says. 

"The moment bias comes into play you've got a life that may be lost. We have to work at creating unity not division," says another. 

We asked the fire commissioner what he is going to do to address employee concerns of safety, through a spokesperson he reiterated that he fought to fire Goodman and that we should be talking to the union or the arbitrator who forced the reinstatement against his wishes.

We did reach out to the Union and the arbitrator and have not heard back.  

Still, Commissioner Jones continued to side step our question to him, which makes it seem like he doesn't have a plan moving forward to ensure the safety of his staff or the people in the city he serves and that's a problem.