Open Letter to Tennie Pierce
Now that the Los Angeles City Council has voted NOT to hand your lawyer a check for $2.7-million of our taxpayer funds, it’s time to get back to work.
You are a highly trained, professional fire fighter, and we need you to be back in uniform doing what you do best – saving lives and property in your community.
Forget for a moment that you signed papers authorizing Ms. Harrison to sue the city. At the time I’m certain that you thought it was the best choice for you and your family. The lawsuit will proceed, along with several other pending claims for various grievances, and if you win the big bucks from a jury, so be it.
Meanwhile, sitting around waiting for a verdict, then the requisite appeals, will be much harder on you, your family and friends, than if you simply bite the bullet, and return to the work you did so well for 19 years.
Whatever retaliation you might have suffered when you were bounced around for the past two years is not going to happen now. If the Fire Department administrators have learned anything from this unfortunate episode, they know that they did not handle your situation properly during that time, and you can be sure that they are going to be vigilant about your situation, as well as any other signs of hazing or bad behavior toward women, minorities or anyone else, which smacks of un-professionalism.
Despite the fact that we, the taxpayers of Los Angeles, are dubious about some of these claims that have surfaced, we need to learn if there are deficiencies in the administration of our city’s fire department, and if anyone in management has failed to carry out their responsibilities. You can have some satisfaction, regardless of the monetary outcome of your case, that your claims are going to put a magnifying glass to many aspects of your department. There’s nothing wrong with such scrutiny.
If you are still headed for retirement in five years, this will at least provide you with your full income and benefits for another sixty months. But you are still a young man, comparatively speaking. We would hope you could continue your fine work for as long as possible, and use your knowledge and experience to help train others who are coming up in the ranks.
In my book, you are still a hero – as are all your brothers and sisters who have put their lives on the line for their community.