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Two out at Salisbury Fire Department

By Emily Ford
eford@salisburypost.com
Two Salisbury firefighters are no longer employed with the department and another has been suspended in connection with an investigation into improper conduct.
City officials on Thursday would not discuss the nature of the ongoing investigation, but the mother of firefighter Courtney Brown said her daughter felt she was sexually harassed by other firefighters for two years.
A city official said Brown and Capt. Baxter “Buddy” Miller are no longer employed with the Salisbury Fire Department and firefighter Castleman “Chet” Hedrick has been suspended without pay.
On Jan. 17 and 18, the city placed Miller and Hedrick on paid administrative leave while considering possible disciplinary action, according to Zach Kyle, the city’s director of human resources.
Thursday night, Kyle said Miller is no longer employed with the department but would not say if Miller resigned or was fired.
State law requires the city to provide the date and type of an employee’s separation. When an employee is fired, a new public records law that went into effect in October requires the city to provide a written notice explaining the reasons for dismissal.
On Tuesday, Hedrick’s job status was moved from administrative leave to suspension without pay for misconduct, Kyle said. Kyle would not say how long the suspension will last.
Hedrick did not return a phone call from the Post. Miller said he had no comment.
Kyle would not say if Brown resigned or was fired.
Brown’s mother, however, said Courtney Brown quit last week because working conditions at the Salisbury Fire Department became unbearable.
Teresa Brown said her daughter, who lives with her, is considering suing the city for character defamation in connection with the investigation into the fire department. She said her daughter was accused of inappropriate behavior in letters that circulated within the fire department.
Teresa Brown said she would give her daughter a message to call the Post, but the Post had not heard from her as of 8 p.m. Thursday.
The mother said Courtney Brown, 20, felt she had been sexually harassed since she started her job with the Salisbury Fire Department two years ago.
Courtney Brown was propositioned by male firefighters, her mother said.
Quitting work and dealing with character assassination has been difficult, Teresa Brown said.
“Right now, we are handling this one day at a time,” she said. “That was her career, and she’s never been through anything like this.”
When entered into Google.com, Courtney Brown’s home address is listed as the address for the Salisbury Escort Service and Mooresville Escort Service.
Teresa Brown said she has never heard of either business and said the residence has been in her family for years. The link to an escort service is an error with the search engine, she said.
Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.

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