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Nipplegate is over. Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers makes rare trial board appearance & sends firefighter/model back to his company.

Previous coverage of this story

Our short local nightmare is over. Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers made his point that Firefighter Jack Slavinski violated department policy when he posed shirtless for a charity calendar. But in the end, the commissioner sent Firefighter Slavinski back to Rescue 1 with only an oral reprimand. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer this happened yesterday when Commissioner Ayers made a rare appearance at Slavinski's trial board hearing.

A spokesman for Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter reiterated Ayers' previous position that the department is in the safety business and not the beefcake business. Here is an excerpt from Robert Moran's article:

Slavinski appeared at a hearing Tuesday and was facing three disciplinary charges, said union official Mike Kane.

In a surprise move, Ayers appeared at the hearing and agreed to simply give Slavinski an oral reprimand and reassign him back to Rescue 1.

Kane said he had participated in more than 50 such hearings and "it was the first time the commissioner walked into the room and talked to anybody."

Firefighter Slavinski is one of a dozen firefighters across the country who were asked to be part of the charity calendar. He posed for photographer Katherine Kostreva in front of a well known Philly fountain. The union had help set up the shoot and expected the city's portion of the money raised to go to the survivors of fallen firefighters. IAFF Local 22 president Bill Gault confirmed for reporters they failed to run the shoot by the commissioner's office.

Last week Commissioner Ayers told Philadelphia Daily News reporter David Gambacorta, "We get letters from children. They look up to us.  We cannot allow them to be showing nipples in photographs of Philadelphia firefighters."

Ayers is catching some grief today about this even becoming an issue from Philadelphia Daily News columnist Ronnie Polaneczky who cites what she calls a double standard by the commissioner. Polaneczky pointed to a YouTube video of Ayers (below), in uniform, providing a testimonial while shopping in the Philadelphia book store Black and Nobel.

Polanecsky believes that the store's home page might be more offensive to some than exposed nipples.

Here's an excerpt from Polanecsky's column:

"I went to the store to get black literature and the guy stuck a camera in my face to say things about the store, but I didn't know he was going to put it on YouTube," Ayers said defensively. "I don't see how this issue ties in to the calendar controversy."

Here's how it ties in:

The commissioner did something well-intentioned that he never expected would be taken the wrong way. Just as Slivinski did something well-intentioned that he never expected would be taken the wrong way.

Ayers' first response should've been to extend to a decent, hardworking underling the same compassion he affords himself.

The mayor's spokesman told reporters the city is considering legal action to keep Slavinski's photo out of the calendar.


Comments - Add Yours

  • Sharppointy1

    Do Dave, will you ost when these calendars are available so this middle aged female in Utah can buy one ; ) 
    Thanks!  Barb

    • dave statter

      Sure thing Barb.

    • Legeros

      Dateline DC.
      Calender published featuring male fire bloggers, shirts off.
      Sales are a bust.

      • Kobersteen

        I think I just threw up a little in my mouth.

  • mark

    There are just too many places to start.
    First off, someone as illustrious as the Commish didn't think his mug would be used as an ad?
    Second, anybody ever hear of a white commish saying he was going to the (white) bookstore to buy some white literature? He'd immediately be labeled a skinhead, Nazi, racist, homphobe, republican pig and immediate apologies to all minority communities that may have been offended, and even to those who couldn't care less. Then some counseling and sensitivity sesssions would be required and pending outcome, possibly a resignation.
    What a complete boob this guy is.
    Nice to see the reporter take him to task. I think might opinion of the media might be changing.

    • Philly Born

      Amen!  I don't think there is a "White and Nobel" book store…I'm sure he'd show up there though….just to say how "bias" the name is.  And I hope someone at Barnes and Noble catches wind of this infringment and makes them change the name. 

  • Chief 62

    Well I for one appreciate the media correalation she provided to Chief Ayers, sorry Chief you blew it. I have had many times microphones in my face, now if it was me in dress unifrom shopping on duty, no tie to the job as Chief Ayers was and asked for a comment I would state "my name". I  certainly wouldn't embellish it with pomp and glory etc. etc. what relevance was this, oh boasting, he wanted the person on the mic to know he was a somebody, sorry Ayers they got you plain and square, stupid is as stupid does. From a like ranked Chief, you looked ridiculous, man up. Suppose this had anything to do with the letter and return to station?
    Just jealous he couldn;t pose for a calendar and do it justice, good cause and oh we do this in Canada as well! Chief out.      

  • Too Old To Work

    Well I must say that it's refreshing to see that the Philadelphia FD is so well run and well funded that this is the most important thing that the Commissioner has to worry about.
    You know like ambulance response times so long that trauma patients end up transported by police. Or stuff like that.