In this week’s special edition of the Listen Frontier podcast, we sit down with Tulsa Fire Chief Ray Driskell.
In his first in-depth interview since he was disciplined by Mayor G.T. Bynum for using obscene language during a secretly recorded meeting with firefighter Nicholas Gillespie, Driskell apologizes for the language he used; responds to his firefighters’ vote of no confidence in him; explains why he had a gun in his office; and shares his plans for moving the department forward.
Driskell’s problems began last month when an attorney for Gillespie issued a press release outlining Gillespie’s complaints against Driskell and calling for the mayor to investigate him.
Gillespie’s attorney also released an audiotape of a meeting Gillespie had with Driskell to discuss his job status. Gillespie had recorded the meeting without Driskell’s knowledge.
In the press release, Gillespie alleges that Driskell’s behavior violated city policy and created a hostile work environment.
He also argued that Driskell violated city policy and state law by keeping a Fire Department-issued handgun in his office without proper certification.
Bynum asked the city’s Personnel Department to investigate the allegations, and after receiving the results of the investigation issued a statement saying that Driskell would keep his job.
The mayor’s statement did not explicitly say whether Driskell had been disciplined, but the chief acknowledged as much in Wednesday’s interview with The Frontier.
Tulsa’s firefighters union, Local 176, announced Tuesday that approximately 300 of the city’s 671 sworn firefighters cast “no confidence” votes against Driskell in a recent union vote.