Over a month and a half after he was fired from the Union Bay Fire Rescue, former fire chief Mark Jackson still doesn’t have any more answers.
On Jan. 22, Jackson was fired after being told by CAO Gordon Mason that members of the fire department were threatening to quit unless Jackson was dismissed.
“My leadership style hasn’t changed in eight years so I’m not quite sure what this is all about,” he said. “That’s what really gets under my skin – there’s always two sides to every story but they didn’t even bother to ask for mine.”
Two days later, Jackson picked up his last paycheque and money in lieu of notice.
Jackson had been with the fire department for eight years and says he would have understood if they had just decided to go a new direction with a different chief, but what bothered him the most was how he was treated after being terminated.
“Basically I was perp walked into my office to ensure that I did not wipe all the data off the computers. I thought I was treated like a common criminal,” he said. “They actually thought I was going to do that and I’ve never been treated like that in my life.”
Throughout his time with the fire department, Jackson said he has tried to stay as apolitical as possible and has had a good relationship with the board. He said the board has been very supportive of the fire department, however, he believes Mason was directed by the UBID board.
“They’ve made expenditures of behalf of the department that hadn’t been done in quite a while. The board was actually very very supportive of the department up until that point, so something obviously had transpired that’s got under their skin big time. I just don’t know what it is.”
In a post on the Union Bay website from Feb. 5, Mason announced that Ian Ham had accepted a position as interim fire chief and Kevin MacGregor would be the interim duty officer, each for two to three months until a new fire chief is hired.
A Jan. 30 post that announced Jackson’s termination is no longer available on the website.
A request for comment was sent to Mason which was not returned, and UBID board chair Ted Haraldson declined to comment.