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Demings stands behind the vax-related firing of a battalion chief who appeared with DeSantis

Orange County Government
The Florida Channel
Mayor Jerry Demings says the firefighters' union agreed to written reprimands as discipline for noncompliance with the vaccine policy.

Mayor Jerry Demings says he supports firefighters. Gov. Ron DeSantis says the Orange County case underscores the need for a special session to outlaw mandates by local governments.

A former Orange County Fire Rescue battalion chief joined Gov. Ron DeSantis at a press conference in Clearwater Thursday to defend the actions that got him fired.

Stephen Davis lost his job Tuesday for failure to follow a direct order. He refused to write up other firefighters who violated the county’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

He says it was “an unlawful order” and questions whether some of the firefighters even violated the policy.

“To me this violated more than just a law,” Davis said. “This violated their own civil rights. This violated the trust that these men and women have served over the last year and a half in the front lines.”

On Thursday evening, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings stood by the decision to fire him.

“Yes, we asked them to get vaccinated during the present pandemic in order to protect themselves and the public,” he said.
He says their union agreed to written reprimands as discipline for noncompliance with the policy. The mayor says 88 percent of fire rescue staff have complied.

Demings says he supports firefighters.

DeSantis says the Davis case underscores the need for a legislative special session to outlaw vaccine mandates by local governments.

“Unfortunately, the governor and others have politicized getting vaccinated," Demings says. "They seem to care more about using firefighters as political pawns rather than as public servants.”

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