Orlando Fire Chief Resigns


Orlando Sentinel

Orlando Fire Chief, Roderick Williams.

Natali Barias, Reporter

On February 21, 2019, Orlando Fire Chief, Roderick Williams, resigned in the midst of a sexual harassment  and discrimination allegations.

Assistant Fire Chief, Dawn Sumter, claimed that she was sexually harassed by her boss. In a complaint made last year Sumter claimed that Williams would rub and press against her body at times. In her statement she stated that, “There were many times [she] could feel he was aroused.” As a result of her complaint Sumter was denied an opportunity for a promotion. Instead, the promotion was given to two less qualified employees.

The U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has looked into this situation, determining that Sumter was in fact discriminated against. Upon the EEOC’s investigation it was discovered that the Orlando Fire Department’s sexual harassment policy was outdated. According to the EEOC, the city’s investigation into Sumter’s complaint was “faulty and biased.”

Orlando Fire Chief, Roderick Williams, had been working with the department for 23 years prior to his resignation. In his resignation letter to the mayor, Williams denied the allegations of sexual harassment. He also stated that he would like to shift the focus on protecting and serving the community, and not his resignation.