Cromwell has been a firefighter with the city since 1988, and has been battling what he calls racist attitudes among management for most of that period, although he says he gets along well with other firefighters. His most recent troubles began when he commented anonymously about his bosses on an article on The Coast’s web site; the city obtained Cromwell’s name through a court order, and placed him on paid administrative leave while it investigated. Last Tuesday, Cromwell was fired.
Cromwell recorded the firing meeting, and posted the recording on YouTube, but that recording has since been removed. In the recording, Cromwell says that another firefighter who had been investigated for uttering racist and sexist comments has been promoted to deputy station chief, while Cromwell has been fired for reacting to and resisting such behaviour.
The Halifax Professional Firefighters Association is grieving his firing, says Cromwell, and his human rights complaint is still active. Several other human rights complaints have been filed against the city, including one from a group of black firefighters and a third filed by a black female police officer. Officials with the Human Rights Commission would not comment on the status of any of the complaints.
Cromwell has also asked the city’s auditor-general to investigate what he says are inconsistencies with the department’s master inventory list. Auditor-general Larry Munro has placed a review of the fire department on his annual work list.