Spouses of demoted Philly firefighters tell council they’re ‘devastated’

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A Philadelphia City Council hearing on the demotion of 14 firefighters brought out their spouses and fireworks between council and Nutter administration officials. 

In May responding to a court order, the Nutter administration promoted Diana Fyke’s husband to Lieutenant.

Since the court ruling was overturned and he was demoted October 2nd, Fyke says he’s devastated.

“He has no energy, no motivation to do family gatherings, to be involved with family and friends because he feels embarrassed that they took something from him. It wasn’t given to him, he earned it,” she said.

Councilman Jim Kenney accused the administration of treating the fire department badly overall, including for years fighting the contract awarded by an arbitrator.

“You guys on the second floor have to push people’s face in the dirt because is makes you feel good.  You don’t have have to do this,” Kenney said. “We don’t have this problem with the police department. Why?  Because you choose not to have this problem with the police department.”

Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers had to be subpoenaed to testify. He says he didn’t want to award these firefighters higher ranks in the first place because he feared the promotions would be overturned.

“I’m upset about it I don’t like what happened to those families,” Ayers said. “I’ve been around a long time just like you and I see and I understand these things It was a management right, they made a choice to challenge that and they lost.”

The case is under appeal to Commonwealth Court.

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