CAPE CORAL, Fla. - Cape Coral is investigating allegations that its fire chief isn't qualified for the job. The city hired Timothy Hayes in the spring, and now a retired battalion chief filed a 50-page report with the city, challenging his qualifications and whether the city vetted him properly.
John Spicuzza says he received information after he retired, so he started looking into it. He says he turned it over to the city because he cares about Cape Coral, and the fire department. He says he wants what is best for everyone, and felt guilty to hold on to the information and not turn it over.
In Spicuzza's 50 plus page report, he questions whether the city properly vetted Hayes. He also accuses him of lying on his resume, and hiring a friend over a more qualified candidate. He says Hayes did not meet the minimum qualifications for the job, and several of his certifications have expired.
Cape Coral Fire Captain Michael Heeder, the department spokesman, says, "the fire chief, like any other fire officer in the state of Florida, strives to maintain a level of training and certification. In this situation, the fire chief has met or exceeded the criteria of officer and chief fire officer, both on the state and national levels. All of those certifications are part of what's being prepared as part of this investigation."
Heeder is the 'friend' called into question, because the two worked together previously. He says, "I was brought into the mix to serve the citizens of Cape Coral to the best of my ability. I have over 30 years of fire service experience. I'm not worried about that. My concern is to take care of this community."
The chief could not comment because of the investigation. The city manager's office says the human resources department is reviewing the allegations and hopes to have findings to present to city council at its meeting Monday night.