Aurora Council members “appalled, embarrassed” about who they simply put in on the Public Service Fee – CBS Denver
AURORA, Colo. (CBS4)– When the Aurora City Council unanimously decided this month to add retired Denver Fire Captain Harold Johnson to their powerful Public Service Commission, they appeared to have no clue of his story. The Denver Fire Department fired Johnson in 2015 for lying, endangering the safety of subordinates, “bullying” and “volatile” behavior, and “sexist and racist attitudes towards others”.
“I am embarrassed and appalled by my vote,” said Dave Gruber, Aurora councilor.
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He said he didn’t hear about Johnson’s employment history with the Denver Fire Department through messages until Friday morning.
“I didn’t know anything about it. We made a mistake and we have to do something to correct it. “
Another councilor, Juan Marcano, told CBS4: “I had no idea about this. That is just unacceptable. “
He hadn’t seen any of the previous messages about Johnson until it was shown on CBS4.
“Wow, that’s different,” said Marcano as he read about Johnson’s employment history.
Johnson had been with DFD for 21 years prior to his discharge in 2015. In his letter of resignation, the department wrote that he was “because of your repeated use of racist epithets; Your pornographic and sophomoric comments at work; Your degrading treatment of women; Your commitment to your personal mobile phone about your duty to your crew and your citizens; and your inability to tell the truth has no place in the Denver Fire Department or the Department of Security. “
At the time, Johnson either denied most of the DFD results, said he couldn’t recall details of various incidents, or said it was part of the “fire fighting culture.”
Johnson told CBS4 that he applied for the position with the Aurora Civil Service Commission at the urging of a friend, but said he was “shocked” when they called to tell him he had been appointed to the five-member board .
“Are you sure?” he answered. “There is too much background. You won’t hire me. “
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He said to CBS4, “I haven’t hidden anything.”
But it’s clear that Aurora City Council didn’t look very accurate either. Gruber said the hiring decision was based on Johnson’s interview with the city council and his résumé.
“All of his answers were good answers,” said Gruber, who liked Johnson being in command of the fire department and training youth sports.
The Public Service Commission has the final say on police and fire service personnel decisions, including recruitment, layoffs and other disciplinary matters.
The commission recently confirmed the sacking of Aurora police officers who took “selfies” near a memorial to Elijah McClain.
Gruber said they will now move to reconsider Johnson’s hiring and replace him with another candidate.
“We were all taken advantage of,” complained Marcano.
“It’s embarrassing,” said Gruber. “I have this flaw.”
Calls and emails to the Aurora Civil Service Commission administrator were not returned.
Johnson said Thursday that the public service commission had him set up a direct deposit for his paycheck, which he called the minimum wage, and got him ID. He expects his appointment to be canceled.
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“It’s your loss,” said Johnson, who added, “They think they would do due diligence.”