Since NewsChannnel5 and Out & About picked up our story this week, we’ve received many messages from Nashville Fire Department employees – most saying how glad they are that this attitude is now out in the open, and is being addressed. However, we have received quite a few from employees that supported Tim Lakford’s words, and felt they should let us know – and since they continue to buck the system and defy the social media policy that they were just reminded us days ago, we felt we should give them the outlet they are looking for – one such employee is Laura Sweazy Huffstuttler. Here is a message we received from the Nashville Fire Department Employee via our Facebook inbox – while, according to the MNFD policy below, she was representing the NFD due to displaying herself in her uniform on her profile of the network she used to deliver the message:
We can verify that she is an active employee of the Nashville Fire Department, City of Nashville, along with current salary info:
So – can Laura say these things on her personal Facebook page or to us in an email or a message? ABSOLUTELY! There is nothing stopping her from saying these things. However, there is nothing that says she won’t face consequences, either. She signed the social media policy when it was put into place, and she was reminded to abide by it via a memo within the past week. Let’s remind Laura Sweazy Huffstuttler what the policy says:
Email from Chief White sent to all Fire Department employees this week:
To all NFD employees:
The Nashville Fire Department does not condone inappropriate behavior or comments by our employees, nor are such a reflection of the mission of our department. We will not let the conduct of a select few, reflect negatively on the overall department. We strive to be a positive force in the community we serve, on and off duty, and we cannot uphold this image without you doing your part.
Employee Personal Use of Social Media:
a) In general, Nashville Fire Department employees who participate in social media are free to publish their own personal information. Employees who identify themselves or who are identified (through photos or other means) as Nashville Fire Department employees while using social media must state in clear terms that their expressed views are theirs alone and do not reflect the views of the Nashville Fire Department. Except as authorized, all employees are prohibited from representing the Nashville Fire Department through their personal use of social media
d) Employees are expected to refrain from social media and online activities that reflect poorly on the Nashville Fire Department. Inappropriate social media and online activities that reflect poorly upon the Nashville Fire Department, its employees, or services, may result in corrective and/or disciplinary action.
Representing yourself as a member of the department is not only identifiable by naming the NFD as your place of employment, but by placing images of yourself in uniform, while on duty, in front of equipment, etc. could also be interpreted by the public as you being a member of NFD.
Think before you post! Is what you’re posting on any form of social media worth the possibility of facing disciplinary action?
It is your responsibility to review and comply with the above mentioned policies.”
Per the policy above, Laura is representing herself as a member of the department – by placing images of herself in uniform on her profile – and indeed, on her public profile, we see this:
Without a doubt, that is a department uniform, with her wearing it – and it’s on her public profile. Again, here is the text of the message she sent to EastNashville.news while representing the department, fully aware of the policy which was recently reinforced:
“Don’t like my posts u can go to HELL! U have no I idea what I go thru!! U have nothing better to do but stalk our Facebook’s and post crap, or call Megan barry because our trk got cancelled on a run and got turned around in home depot parking lot, I’m so sorry it’s not a Kia that can be whipped on a dime! U know nothing!! Get a damn life!! U have no clue what I have seen or had to do! If all the time u have is focusing on fire department posts and our own personal opinions your pathetic! Don’t u think for one second u have the upper hand, u might be surprised.”
We reached out to the state, who verified she is currently in good standing with no complaints on her state license:
If Metro Nashville Fire Department employees want to continue to threaten our staff, we will continue to publish them, and maybe the MNFD will be a bit better by weeding out these bad apples that the public trusts to serve them, without prejudice.
Here’s the entire conversation: