Moving Forward After Adversity

Last month e-mails from Casper’s previous fire chief were anonymously distributed to Casper Fire Department members.

News 13 requested records of some of the previous fire chief's emails, ranging from talking about women to members within the department and choosing the 2014 fire fighter of the year based on looks.

Interim chief, Jason Speiser says since the emails surfaced he's noticed a difference in attitude from some department members.

“Anytime information like that comes out, that people may have had suspicions of and becomes concrete, yeah, it’s definitely gonna cause some issues within the department,” said Speiser.

Speiser says that kind of behavior from management is ineffective.
"It goes both ways and it creates distrust it creates rumors."

As a fellow fire fighter, Mike Magee says it all comes down to trust.
“Being able to trust one another is very very important,” said Mike Magee.

Speiser doesn’t believe department members' ability to serve will be affected by this but he realizes it is a possibility.

“If we don’t have our internal stuff squared away it could ultimately, I truly do not believe it will affect our service delivery, but there’s definitely some issues that we have to work through and reestablish that internal trust.”

Looking back, Speiser says issues may have stemmed from leadership.
"I think it was ineffective communication, maybe not deliberately but it did cause some divide within our department and maybe it lead to some of these issues.”

Moving forward…

“We’re taking appropriate steps for some zero tolerance issues that have been revealed through those e-mails, so the department’s taking these issues very seriously. And we’re gonna use this adversity to grow as a department and move forward.”

He believes communication is key.

“We need to over communicate right now. We need to get all these issues out on the table and work through this as a department and maintain our professionalism.”

Sticking to their mission statement and core values will help them progress.

"That’s been kind of our message moving forward out of this, you know, this bad publicity we’ve got, is that we need to have our mission statement at the head of everything.

Ensuring they do their best to honor those core values.

“We strive to push forward with honesty, integrity and I don’t want these to be buzz words because we truly rely on the support of the citizens because we do want to provide excellent customer service and fast response times and we want to be excellent.”

As a leader the department's chief is a valuable position.

“The position of chief is very important because they're definitely the goal setter, the pace setter for the service.”

Speiser says there are certain qualities they hope to find in the next chief.

“We’re looking for some strong leadership some direction.. Some expectations to be set and people will be held accountable for. So i think just all those things that anybody wants in a good leader that’s gonna lead the way have a clear vision and just a good future for the fire department is what we’re looking for.”

Magee says those qualities would reflect that of the newest member.

"They would want to serve, consistently improve the health and safety of our community and still provide service and compassion and get better every day."

Both agree, community support pushes them forward to learn more and provide better services.

Interim Chief Speiser has been with the department for 16 years while Magee has served for 26.