Campaign photo could cost 6 firefighters their jobs

UNIVERSITY CITY, Mo. — Six firefighters could lose their jobs over a photo the city says violated campaign laws.

KSDK reported that the firefighters, who have been in contract disputes with the city for more than a year, got involved in a political campaign for the candidates they support.

The firefighters got in trouble for posing in a campaign photo with a city council candidate.

“We all understood what the law allowed us to do,” firefighter Jen Stuhlman said.

The law allows first responders to “engage in political activity while off duty and not in uniform,” according to the report.

“We went to a neighboring community, off duty, out of uniform,” Stuhlman said.

One of those pictured claims their fire chief told him they would all be without a job by Friday, according to the report.

The city manager of University City said none of the firefighters have been fired, but the city is investigating whether the picture violates the law.

“It depends on a variety of factors. We would take a look at the entire situation before we make a decision like that,” said City Manager Lehman Walker.

“We just feel like this is an outrageous abuse of power by the city,” said a spokesman for the local firefighter union, Kurt Becker. “I do feel like there is a very strong intent on the city’s part to try and stifle their participation in this election process.”

All six firefighters received notice that they were to report to the city’s human resources department Wednesday morning, according to the report.

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