As of yesterday (Wednesday) afternoon, Brook Park, Ohio Mayor Tom Coyne was still in the middle of handling the biggest crisis to hit his town in decades — the Halloween candy disaster. Top fire officials came out of a meeting with the mayor to face the press. The fire chief told WJW-TV investigative reporter Ed Gallek, “There’s been no decision.”
When Gallek naively asked what more there was there to look at, the chief grimly said, “I can’t discuss anything, sorry.”
Yes, these are big doings that need to be kept secret. Discretion is very important with such a sensitive topic. A top notch investigative reporter like Gallek should know better. This is serious stuff and Gallek should just butt out.
In case you missed what this is all about, let me fill you in. Brook Park Mayor Tom Coyne is considering disciplining a shift of firefighters and their lieutenant for neglecting their duty. And who can blame the mayor?
Instead of sitting around the firehouse on October 31, waiting to for the citizenry to call for help, these so-called public servants actually took the town’s fire apparatus and ambulance out on the street engaging citizens, young and old. Someone could have died!
On top of it, they got little children overly excited by letting them see the fire trucks and ambulance and then handing out Halloween candy. Really, what were these idiots thinking?
It’s not just the fact that those parents probably had their hands full getting those kids to go to sleep that night — thanks to these unthinking firefighters. It’s what will likely happen a few months down the road. Any one of these kids could develop a cavity. And who will those parents blame?
Of course they will take out their anger at the government of Brook Park. I’m sure there’s an ambulance chasing lawyer just waiting to take on these cases. I can see the late night commercials from some law firm now — “Was your child given candy by Brook Park firefighters? Please call us now at 1-800-SUE THEM.”
Thankfully, Tom Coyne is the mayor. He’s the guy to take care of a problem like this. It’s certain Coyne will make sure it is handled in a way that the lieutenant and the firefighters know how badly they screwed up. Coyne will have them screaming for mercy. They will get the message. This shift of firefighters will never cross the line again. Not with Mayor Coyne on the job.
And who should know better than Tom Coyne about handling such an embarrassing incident? Coyne has great experience to draw from. After leaving office following 20-years as Brook Park mayor Tom Coyne spent at least two stints in jail because of a drunk driving arrest. And then there was the time in 2004 that Coyne was discovered by police mostly naked in someone’s driveway. This is how Tom Coyne really cut his teeth in the crisis management arena.
But despite his set backs, or possibly because of them, the people of Brook Park knew Tom Coyne was the kind of guy they needed to keep the town safe from renegade firefighters neglecting their duties.
Let me explain to you what you may not realize about Tom Coyne’s brilliance. Most mayors would say firefighters handing out Halloween candy on the streets isn’t that bad of a thing. Even if a mayor was upset that the firefighters failed to ask for permission, or violated orders, they would know that making a big deal of it could backfire. They know that suspension and discipline of the firefighters would just draw attention and possibly make themselves and the town look foolish. Tom Coyne knows better.
For Coyne, suspending a lieutenant and threatening to punish a whole shift shows who’s in charge. It makes clear that the mayor — and no one else — calls the shots in Brook Park. Because otherwise, some bad, bad things could happen.
First, there are the 911 calls that will be ignored. We all know leaving the firehouse to hand out candy prevents firefighters from responding immediately to emergencies. I’m sure the mayor is quite certain none of these stupid firefighters have any multi-tasking skills that would allow them to both hand out candy and listen to the radio. Firefighters just aren’t that smart or resourceful. Second, there is the previously mentioned sugar high and cavity lawsuits.
My friends, Tom Coyne is protecting Brook Park, Ohio from all of these embarrassments that could tarnish his town. If Mayor Coyne allowed these firefighters to get away with such scandalous behavior, the next thing you know one of the firefighters could end up drunk and naked in a citizen’s driveway.