One Life to Burn:
Sex Scandal Sears Fire Department
Who says life cannot imitate art?
As if ripped right off the pages from the daily rushes of a sizzling daytime soap opera, the latest storyline in the always interesting life of the LA (Lehigh Acres) Fire Department reveals deception, breach of trust, infidelity and salacious sex between firefighters.
LAFD Chief John Wayne has released a public records report concerning the investigation of Lt. Larry Arfmann, assigned to Station 102. There actually was no investigation, per se, but an examination of a confession admitted by Arfmann that he had been engaged in a long-time sexual relationship with a subordinate co-worker. According to Wayne, this is a serious violation of district policy. Note: there is no rule or regulation prohibiting what the district terms as being involved in a “dating” relationship between employees as well as between supervisor/subordinate. The violation enters because district policy demands that the senior employee immediately report the relationship to the proper chain of command. Ostensibly, concern rises to make sure both parties are separated professionally to avoid impropriety.
Well, the plot starts to thicken here. Yes, Arfmann finally “came clean.” He reported the affair to Wayne sort of voluntarily. Sort of only due to the fact he “got busted.” Not by one of his superiors. He wasn’t ratted out by a fellow worker or an anonymous phone call from a district taxpayer. No…he was found out by his wife. Uh-oh.
Wayne met with Arfmann who, according to the chief, was forthcoming and honest about the illicit relationship he had with FF/PM Denise Potter. However, the One Life to Burn writers threw in the first plot twist when Arfmann’s wife, Dawn, reported that Potter had attempted to secure a restraining order against her. It was denied but no additional “secrets” were revealed concerning why Potter had felt the move necessary. What’s that old saying about a woman scorned?
Since Arfmann waived a formal inquiry as well as any legal representation, Wayne turned the matter over to Arfmann’s supervisor, Battalion Chief Tim Christensen for a disciplinary recommendation. Christensen interviewed both Arfmann and Potter determining that although poor judgment was evident, a violation of the Workplace Relationship policy had occurred (Arfmann failed to report the affair immediately) the affair was ended and no repeat activity of this nature would ever occur again. He recommended Arfmann receive a one-shift (24-hour) suspension. Potter faced no disciplinary action at all.
Drama over? Are you kidding?
Wayne rejected Christensen’s recommendation. He stated he did not agree with Christensen and delivered the following disciplinary action:
- Arfmann will be demoted to the position of FF/PM (Firefighter/Paramedic) immediately. This is the position he held before promotion to lieutenant on Aug. 6, 2007.
- He will be placed on administrative leave with pay effective immediately and advised when to return back to duty
- Arfmann will receive a shift change through this decision and will be informed about his new assignment once he returns to duty
- Arfmann will be eligible for promotion according to the collective bargaining agreement
Does the storyline end here. No…but unlike a Friday soap episode, no cliffhanger here.
Arfmann obviously liked his supervisor-in-arms disciplinary solution since he filed a grievance through the union to fight the chief’s plan.
Losing whatever the value of a one-shift suspension was all Arfmann was willing to suffer for violating district policy. Now bring on the lawyers…bring on additional costs for the taxpayers of the LAFD.
Stay tuned for continuing episodes of One Life to Burn.