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Palm Beach County Fire Rescue announces replacements for fired Chief, and second Chief who resigned

Posted at 5:41 PM, Jan 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-26 18:05:59-05

Above, is an email Palm Beach County Fire Rescue sent out to all Fire Rescue staff Friday afternoon, naming replacements after a Division Chief was fired, and a Deputy Chief resigned, over sexual harassment complaints.

Chief Douglas McGlynn has been with the department for 20 years, Chief Patrick Kennedy for 21 years, Chief Tracey Adams has been with department for 19 years. 

Contact 5 also got our hands on the letter firing a Division Chief from Palm Beach County Fire Rescue.

Contact 5 sources continue to say Palm Beach County leaders fired Fire Rescue Division Chief Chris Hoch, because of a sexual harassment scandal within the department. 

So why fire him now, when the county first reprimanded him in March? 

"This letter is to inform you that after careful consideration, I have made the decision to terminate you employment, effective immediately," writes Interim Chief Administrator Michael Mackey, in a letter dated Thursday.

The letter also "thanked him for his service ... and wished him success in future endeavors."

The letter informs Hoch that he can request "a name-clearing hearing within 5 days." 

What the letter doesn't say, is why Palm Beach County decided to fire Hoch. 

Multiple sources confirm Hoch's fate was sealed, when a Contact 5, and other media, reported on a county human resources investigation in which Chief Hoch admitted to repeating sexually charged rumors about a female captain. That Captain, Amanda Vomero, is now suing the county, and Fire Rescue.

The HR investigation also found Hoch repeated those rumors in front of former Deputy Chief Thomas Tolbert. 

Contact 5 also obtained his resignation letter. Tolbert wrote "it has been a pleasure serving the citizens of Palm Beach County for the past 31 years."

So why did it take 10 months to fire Hoch, The county's investigation that found he repeated rumors, was completed in February 2017. That's just one of many questions I'd like to ask County Administrator Verdenia Baker.

Contact 5 asked for an on camera interview, she said she was not available.

Palm Beach County Fire Rescue never answered our calls, emails or texts requesting an interview. Neither did Fire Rescue's Union President.

Contact 5 has learned former Chief Hoch is being represented by Berman and Berman, the same law firm that represents former Chief Administrator Jeff Collins, who resigned almost two weeks over, but says he was forced to do so because of a "political agenda." 

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