Why settle for a metaphor, when you can literally appoint an arsonist to head the fire department?
There were high emotions and high drama at a fire district board meeting in Illinois Monday, as a once-convicted arsonist was named acting fire chief of the volunteer fire department, KTLA sister station KTVI in St. Louis reports.
The board removed John Rosencranz as chief of the Prairie Du Pont Volunteer Fire Department and replaced him with Assistant Chief Jerame Simmons. The two were seated at the same table when the change was made.
Board members said they had good reasons for making the change but they have not made those reasons public.
That wasn’t good enough reasoning for most of the department’s firefighters. Ten of the department’s 13 firefighters quit on the spot.
One firefighter took off his fire department shirt and threw it at the board. Minutes later, he plopped his gear onto the table in front of them.
Jerame Simmons, the new acting fire chief, is the son of Herb Simmons, the long-time director of the St. Clair County Emergency Management Agency.
Herb is kind of in the same line of work.
Herb Simmons is nearly synonymous with mask-wearing messages in St. Clair County.
As the Director of the Emergency Management Agency, he frequently pleads with residents to practice social distancing, wear masks and wash their hands so businesses can get back up and running during the pandemic.
Some say he even blames those who don’t follow those guidelines for the governor’s mandatory shutdowns having to take effect.
But videos of Simmons unmasked, standing shoulder to shoulder — and sometimes even closer — with wrestlers as the commissioner of crowded events in Tennessee have some local leaders questioning whether Simmons is sincere in his messaging or part of the problem.
In Freeburg, not far from Belleville, the four main restaurants are struggling to stay afloat in the village of about 4,500 people, said Village Administrator Tony Funderburg.
Funderburg said He finds Simmons’ Facebook messages imploring residents to wear masks demeaning, and now, hypocritical.
“When I first saw it, I’m like, ‘There’s no way this guy can do this job, there’s just no way,’” said Funderburg of the wrestling videos. “He’s the guy that’s telling us how to live our lives and what to do on a daily basis and he is not following that.
“It’s hard for me to have any respect for him at this point.”
Public servants. What would we ever do without them?