Mar 3 2006
10:02 am

The local TV news stations are piling on KFD Chief Perez again.

WATE leads the way this time with two rather bizarre reports. It seems a transgendered person has filed a complaint saying she was discriminated against after having a sex change operation. A fellow firefighter, who was the best man at the transgendered person's wedding 10 years ago when she was a he, says her complaint has no merit. (Be sure to watch the videos accompanying both stories.)

WBIR has this report on the same complaint, plus another age discrimination complaint.

What's really odd about all this is that KFD says the reassignments that are the subject of these complaints are all part of cost-cutting measures designed to help keep the department budget under control. Wasn't the local media hammering on Chief Perez just a couple of weeks ago for being over budget?

I also like how the local TV news stations report these complaints as "more in a growing list of accusations against Chief Perez" and make it sound like he's running some sort of gulag over there. (Again, watch the WATE videos. Unbelievable.)

For one thing, the transgendered person named her supervisor along with Perez. For another, I wonder how many complaints are filed every month (or every day for that matter) in other local government departments, such as KPD, KCSO, the Mayor's office, etc. Probably not many involving transgendered people, but I'm guessing any workplace, including, gasp, local government offices, have plenty of people with beefs about one thing or another.

One difference is, with local government and civil service, there's a standard procedure for airing your gripes. And lucky for the sensationalist TV news outfits, it's public.

BREAKING NEWS UPDATE: Chief Perez and Mayor Haslam did not stab any hobos or eat any babies today. But could they have? Tune in to your local TV news at 6 and 11 for the shocking investigative report...

bizgrrl's picture

What will Knox Firefighter

What will Knox Firefighter Mike Brown and the two others sue for? They have the same grievance except for being addressed with the correct gender.

Me thinks local news just wants to talk about transgendered people and KFD Chief Perez.

Car Guy's picture

Well, the chief will resign

Well, the chief will resign today effective April 1st.

R. Neal's picture

No kidding?

No kidding? Or is than early April Fools joke?

Car Guy's picture

Nope. No rodeo joke, either.

Nope. No rodeo joke, either.

If a new chief is selected before April 1, Perez will step down at that earlier date.

R. Neal's picture

Nothing on the wires yet

Nothing on the wires yet that I can see. Have you seen a story on the interwebs I can link to, or more details so we can have an exclusive?

jonathanj003's picture

Apr 1st?

Mere Hear-say...this has been the rumor going around the various city departments for three or four months....I wouldn't think anything of it until I heard it in a press conference or an exclusive from a RELIABLE source.

Bbeanster's picture

Car Guy is right on the money

Called my KFD sources. They confirm it. Chief Charlie's toast.

Haslam doesn't have the guts to stand up to the GOBs.

Bbeanster's picture

Good Old Boys 1, Haslam 0

Not a shining moment for Mayor Bill

jonathanj003's picture

IF - in fact - this is what

IF - in fact - this is what happens, either now or at a later date, it is 'deplorable' to steal a quote from Mike Brown that, getting back to a previous topic, that this SOCIAL CLUB of 'Good Ol Boys' are the ones responsible.  I'm sure they are tipping some back and singing Sweet Home Alabama right now in celebration.  If it weren't for the whinning of a few and bantering of a few more who always find it necessary to run to the media with stories, maybe things would be better 'within' and from the 'bottom up'!

jonathanj003's picture an Ever-Changing an Ever-Changing World we are in, one thing is now firm in my eyes:


 If Mayor Haslam (or now I will refer to him as Billy--since I have lost most respect for him after this) will not stand up to a small group of whinning Good Ol Boys, he will have a VERY DIFFICULT time standing up to other leaders (i.e. Political, Business, MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENT-BODY PRESIDENT...).


Now, to whoever decides to run against 'Billy', the former Mayor of Knoxville, you now have one more vote here and I'm sure MANY MANY more after this spineless act....



Anonymous's picture


Well, who would have thought!  WATE interviewed 'a firefighter' to get the views of the department about Chief Perez and his resignation.  As if I have to ask from where the solicitation for the interview came--I'm sure it was just a random draw out of the hat and Oh, Look--Station 3.

 Just another example of the "Station 3 GOB's".  They have not only local politicians in their back pocket, but I guess the local media is in their front!  Anything to get their words in.  Nice job guys!

James Rickett's picture

          Not sure he deserves one

           I can't believe that all of these comments are posted. There are actually real problems in the Dept. not just something to entertain you people. If you just kick back and try to understand some of the information that has been published in the recent months,and stop pinning names (Good Ole Boys) you may actually understand. There is no witch hunt in the Dept. for anyone. The Firefighters deserve to be listened to, all three sides. We took our gripe straight to the top several months ago. This is not, or ever was against an out sider. The managerial style of this chief is very unfortunate not only for the firefighters but for the city. His record is in par with his past. No big surprise. Just do the research. Our great city knew what it was getting into with this man.

             Every Dept. in the City is ran by politics and always will be. Just the cold hard truth. Can you get the politics out of the Mayors office ? How about the Police Dept. ? How about the Service Dept. ? That is the backbone of all the Departments like it or not. Now, what we did with this chief is swap inside politics for outside politics ie: buddies from Ga. and Fl. up here with their products to market to the city, NICE........

             So to end this pain for me there are three sides involved in this. The so called "good ole boys" that you readers believe in everything that you hear, the new age "yes anything you want I'll do chief " , and the "fence riders". All three sides want what is best for the Dept. and two sides are wrong. It sure isn't the " good ole boys " that are wrong.

                                                          MFF James Rickett


R. Neal's picture

MFF Rickett, that might be

MFF Rickett, that might be an accurate assessment of the "three sides" but I'm still not sure who is "wrong".

Others closer to the situation (such as yourself) have more specific issues and concerns, but my primary complaint is how this has been handled in the media. In a nutshell, it's one-sided. And any time I see one-sided coverage of an issue in the local media (which unfortunately seems to be most of the time) I have to wonder what the other side of the story is, and who benefits from the "party line" point of view foisted on the public in the local media.

I also think that there has been a fair exchange of viewpoints here, from knowledgeable "insiders" and those of us sitting on the sidelines wondering what the hell is going on. And after all that we still don't really know.

But in the end, and in fairness and with all due respect to all sides (and especially to firefighters who put their lives on the line), the status quo and "powers that be" (or whatever you want to call them) have not done a very good job shaping public perception regarding this issue.

And many citizens (at least those who can be bothered to care enough to pay attention) judge the merits of one side or the other's arguments partially by the tactics they employ in promoting their point of view.

(I also find your remark that "our great city knew what it was getting into with this man" interesting. So, are you saying that the administration who hired him made a mistake, or that the same administration accepting his "retirement" is doing the smart thing? Which is it?)

James Rickett's picture

         Point well

         Point well taken and I do understand "one side " coverage is alive and well in the local media. There should be 2 sides published on every story.

         Lots of different tactics had to be used with this issue because we were getting no where with city government. The Fire Dept. was imploding and we could do nothing but watch. Our Dept. has a rich history and we will not watch it go down. Our chief does have allot of credentials and is very knowledgeable but this city can't afford his style.  Monetarily that is. I will not air out the dirty laundry of the Dept. Some of it you allready know.

          This is the best decision for the Dept. and the city. It seems like the city has been hands off on this subject for one reason or another ,I do agree with you on that.

           But to answer you question the citizens of Knoxville will benifit.

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