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Board upholds fireman's firing
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Forsyth County News

 

The Forsyth County Civil Service Board has upheld the October termination of a firefighter for falsifying documents, providing false statements and ethical violations.

Jeremy Cranford and his attorney, Bonnie Jones, said they plan to fight the three-member board’s decision.

According to a statement released Thursday, Cranford “plans on pursuing any and all available legal remedies in a continued effort to clear his name and restore his honor.”

Cranford, a former lieutenant, appealed his dismissal to the board in a two-day hearing in January.

According to testimony during the hearing, Cranford filed a worker’s compensation claim stating that on April 3 he had injured his elbow when he fell during ladder training at Station 4. He was also treated for the injury.

Firefighters Kedrick Kenerly and Shawn Corrigan testified that although Cranford had said they witnessed the injury, they did not and the training didn’t occur.

The board’s decision, also released Thursday, took issue with Cranford’s behavior, as well as certain practices of the fire department as a whole.

The board asserts that the fire department’s senior level supervisors “either don’t know or don’t care whether this training is really going on or not.”

It goes on to show that the station log for April 3 reflects that Cranford, Kenerly and Corrigan completed two hours of ladder training and eight hours of emergency medical services training during their 24-hour shift.

However, “no written, signed training report was submitted to or approved by [the battalion chief] in violation of policy, apparently without any consequence.”

In addition, the board held that there is evidence that at least 10 hours of fabricated training was claimed that day.

According to Cranford’s statement, he explained during his testimony that he did continue training after falling off the ladder and the eight hours of EMS training was for time spent on a workbook during his shift.

Kenerly and Corrigan both testified that Cranford showed them a report he wrote claiming he was injured during the training. They said that while they disagreed with Cranford, they did not report it until some five months later.

“The board is also troubled by their failure to report what they testified they knew was wrong for such a long period of time,” the decision shows. “If this type of look-the-other-way behavior is typical and is not addressed, it calls into question the integrity of the fire department.”

Jodi Gardner, spokeswoman for Forsyth County’s government, said officials with the fire department had no comment on the board’s findings at this time.

The panel’s decision went on to show that no evidence was presented showing that either Kenerly or Corrigan were disciplined for their failure to report Cranford’s dishonesty.

Cranford’s statement shows that there was “no apparent consideration given to Mr. Cranford’s lack of motive, or the question of why he would have listed the two firefighters in question as witnesses on his report of injury when he could have easily claimed a work-related injury with no witnesses.”

The board contends that while Cranford correctly forwarded his worker’s compensation form, the supervisor should have obtained witness statements and involved the safety officer, but did neither.

“There are checks and balances within the system to prevent falsification of worker’s compensation injuries,” the decision shows. “None of them were implemented here.”