Fire Department Uniforms: City Paper Arbitrator Recommends Collared T-Shirts

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Three members of the Charleston Fire Department's Uniform Committee are up in arms over Chief Rusty Thomas' decision to go with t-shirts instead of the polo shirts the firemen had requested, according to a News 4 story yesterday.

"This is what they wanted. This is what they wanted. They're excited about it, really excited about it," said Chief Rusty Thomas at a news conference on December 5th.

"Are these the uniforms you agreed upon?" asked WCIV reporter Sarah DeMarco. "No ma'am. This is not what we agreed upon," said Eng. Brian Rivers of Engine 8.

Seems the boys wanted to look a little more dressy, but Thomas was going for a more casual, comfortable look. Earlier this year, Mayor Joe Riley lamented the loss of the stuffy polyester suits that turned out to be, themselves, a hazard for firefighters.

The firefighters are worried that these executive decisions will make the department's new committee structure mute. But, it should be expected that Thomas will have a hard time releasing complete oversight. If this is isolated, let it go. If it becomes a trend, it's time to find someone who can embrace the team mentality.

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