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Head fire investigator demoted
Report finds fault with conduct
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Forsyth County News

Following nearly a month’s suspension, Forsyth County’s former fire marshal has been demoted and issued a warning.

Jodi Gardner, county spokeswoman, confirmed Steve Anderson’s rank was dropped as of Friday to firefighter II.

She was not sure when he would return to work.

Anderson, who served as the county’s chief fire investigator, was placed on administrative leave with pay March 1.

The decision to demote Anderson was made based on an investigation by the county’s personnel services department.

According to a warning issued to Anderson, he is “subject to a position probationary period of one year.”

He has also been stripped of his supervisory duties.

Anderson indicated on the warning that he disagrees with the county’s action against him and that reasons for his opposition will be supplied at a later date.

The document shows he has until the end of the week to appeal the matter.

Attempts to reach Anderson for comment have been unsuccessful.

A letter attached to the notice shows that Anderson has been disciplined for five violations of two county policies, including workplace harassment of a discriminatory and sexual nature.

The violations appear to have involved a female fire department employee over a recent four-month span.

Citing an ongoing investigation, Gardner said she could not comment on whether the woman has been or will be disciplined.

The document shows that “numerous witnesses within the fire marshal’s office” confirmed that from November to February, Anderson spent an excessive amount of time at the woman’s desk and “caused her not to be able to focus on performing her job duties fully.”

It also says other employees felt Anderson was showing favoritism to the woman.

Other violations include falsification of official documents and wasting time.

The letter contends that on Jan. 8, Anderson told the department timekeeper to clock in the woman at 7:30 a.m., although Anderson did not leave until after 8 a.m. to pick her up from her home because of bad weather.

The two apparently arrived “back at work much later, after having stopped at several places to get breakfast.”

The letter contends Anderson worked on the woman’s personal laptop computer while on the clock and held a meeting to announce that the two would be attending a concert after hours.

Anderson began working for the fire department on Jan. 3, 1995. His base salary has been reduced from about $71,434 to $53,841.

Capt. Kevin Wallace is serving as interim fire marshal.