RICKY BOEKER TERMINATED AS BRENHAM FIRE CHIEF

BOEKER SAYS HE WAS TOLD TO 'LEAVE YOUR KEYS AND ID ON THE DESK AND LEAVE'

  

Ricky Boeker has confirmed his 16-year tenure as Brenham’s fire chief was abruptly ended on Wednesday.

Former Brenham Fire Chief Ricky Boeker
(courtesy City of Brenham)

The law firm representing Boeker, Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani, LLP of Houston, informed KWHI that Boeker was “unilaterally terminated as fire chief” on Wednesday by the City of Brenham and City Manager James Fisher, who confirmed that Boeker was released from his position.

Boeker told KWHI that Fisher was accompanied by a city marshal when he was told to leave.  Boeker said while he was not escorted from city property, he was instructed to leave his personal belongings, which would be packed up and sent to him.  He said he was told to “leave your keys and ID on the desk and leave.”

Fisher also said Boeker was not escorted out, adding that Boeker’s office was “secured so that his personal items could be protected and packed.”

Boeker was initially informed on March 15th that the city would pursue early retirement options with him as it moves in a different direction with leadership.  The settlement agreement previously being discussed between Boeker and the city had April 15th as Boeker's last day.

Boeker became Brenham’s volunteer fire chief in 2005 after joining the department in 1988 as a volunteer firefighter.  He became the first paid fire chief for the department and the city in 2008, as well as the emergency management coordinator.

Boeker’s law firm says it “will be responding accordingly.”

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33 Comments

  1. Good people have had to retire early or have ‘all of a sudden’ been terminated with Fisher in charge. Maybe it’s time for a new city manager, ~ contact your city council member for answers, they answer to tax payers, we don’t answer to them!! Let’s get movin! God Bless Ricky!

  2. Shame on Fisher! If that is the way he runs the city, I am so thankful I live in the county! And I will gladly drive extra miles to do my shopping elsewhere! My $200.00 plus a week will add up if others do the same. That will hurt local businesses, but I will not support a city with a man like Fisher in office. Maybe he needs to go back to where he came from.

  3. Unfortunately this is a bad situation for everyone involved. Unlike many that are commenting-I know both of these men and they are both good men with some excellent qualities. Regarding Chief Boeker…yes he is a good man and has given alot more than most to his city. Does that make him eligible for lifetime fire chief status? I don’t personally believe anyone can attain that status. Successful companies and organizations change continuously and government should not operate any differently. Did his firing happen the right way? I don’t know, you don’t know and nobody except Chief Boeker, James Fisher and the marshal or others that were physically present, can or should answer that question. Regarding James Fisher….he is a good man as well and is tasked with guiding this city to build upon past successes and prosper in the future, so that we can enjoy our quality of life we have known here for so long. Those calling for his head should examine WHY he does the things he does and actually call him on the phone or go meet with him, ask him questions before rushing to judgment. You might be surprised and enlightened at the answers you get. Sometimes people have honest differences in philosophy about major issues. Is it time for a new city manager; I don’t know….that’s up to the council. I seem to remember many times Mr. Roberts, the most previous city manager made people mad with decisions as well. Does our city want a puppet or someone with the guts to stand up and make tough choices? If you want the puppet, you may as well change the government back to a strong mayor type of city government (which can be done) and install a yes man instead of a city manager…..because that’s what a city manager is paid to do….make tough decisions. SO unless you know and/or have spoken to these men, your opinion is simply that-nothing but your opinion….not facts, not law, not what’s going to happen…no matter how long you’ve lived here. I encourage people to become informed before typing their version/perception of facts.

    1. I get the sentiment, but something to consider:

      They are intentionally doing this before his retirement.

      He’s ineligible for city benefits now because Fischer fired him.

      Given too the incident with the pipes, this reads – intentionally or not – of retaliation, double with Boeker having legal action.

      The fact too he was not allowed to pack his items is questionable.

      Just food for thought.

      1. So your saying everyone else that was terminated or forced to leave should have been allowed to stay till they could get the retirement and benefits? Not reasonable. You have a job to do, and if you don’t perform, you pay the consequences. That’s life.

        1. No, I didn’t say that.
          I said question the decision here.

          A. There is mention of the pipes and Fisher not happy the FD didn’t respond. This raises a red flag (my own experience by the way living there for a time).

          B. Boeker is terminated the same day a positive indirection report is released. That’s simply put odd.

          C. Not allowing him to pack up his items makes one wonder if Boeker had something on Fischer and didn’t want him to have it.

          It reads retaliation to be honest.

          There’s far too much here to question, and it doesn’t favor the city manager.

          Points B&C are unreasonable to be honest. Add to it Boeker has legal counsel, this firing can backfire big on the city and by effect the taxpayer.

          Now should something legitimate be go kind regarding Boekrr that warrants the firing? I’ll be happy to stand corrected.

          Now, I just question

    2. Sounds to me, without knowing the details, Mr. Fisher needs some fundamental lessons in management. I worked in offices as a professional
      for about 40 years and NEVER heard of an employee being treated as Mr. Boeker was. If Mr. Fisher was my boss, I’d be looking for another job. Who knows how he will treat other emloyees?

  4. There is two sides to every story and I am sure that most of you do not know the whole story. I have known Ricky almost all of my life, and yes, he is a really good man. But being good hearted, friendly and out going does not always make you a good leader. What Mr. Fischer has done, is made a business decision based on the facts, not his or others emotions. That is how you run a business. I am sure if all the facts came out, there would be a better understanding of this ordeal.
    Brenham FD needs a leader to take them into the future with growth and development. Right now, they are stagnant and not moving forward and as the saying goes, “it starts at the top” and that is the logical place to start. Leaders need to be open to change and fearless when it comes to it! All aspects of the FD needs to be listened to and understood and changes made as need be. So many times, when a local guy is put in charge, friends are hired and/or elected to be a volunteer and favoritism and disregard for others opinions side tracks a business or department. Maybe an outsider will bring a much needed breath of fresh air and a new direction for the FD. Time will only tell.
    Though I do not know Mr. Fisher, lynching him for making a business decision is not right, but I would like to know what all led up to this decision as I am sure it was not an easy decision to make.

    1. I completely agree with you, as I have been in the department for years. People only see the outside and don’t know one thing that goes on behind closed doors. Yes Ricky is a good man out in the public, but not the leader In the department like everyone thinks he is. This department has been stagnant for years. Do you know why EMS does all the water rescue and have grown To a more productive department? Leadership. Kevin Deramus has taken EMS to another level because of his aggressiveness and leadership. Brenham Fire Department is still stuck in the old way as the saying goes” that’s the way we always done it”. I heard that so many times. A good leader does not sit behind his desk and tell others, I am not worried about your job, I have mine and doesn’t want to stand up for what’s right. A leader is a guide to his employees and guides them in the right direction and to help improve their production, and willing to stand up for them when he knows what’s right, not sit behind the desk and cover it up. I do not know Fisher personally but I do know the fire chief and have been in that station for many years. People need to get both sides of the story and really see what’s going on.

    2. I hope you and others have now read the new release of documents and strategic plans (including equipment, staffing, new station with quoted amounts that were IN FACT sent to City Manager and Mrs. Miller) which includes as it appears a glowing review in 2019 to the complete opposite in 2021 – nothing done in 2020. So what all of a sudden changed in his treatment towards Chief Boeker in that span? Age and trying to prevent his eligibility for pension? What was the purpose of making the citizens believe these crucial items were never ask for? Was the council left out of seeing these documents? What handful (and I say few because most of them have true work ethics) of paid BFD staff members have been in Fishers’ ear for their personal gain? Has anyone asked how many times Chief Boeker went to Mrs. Miller and asked about putting said items in budget and HER response? Why is it that Chief Boeker has been commended by various Texas Agencies for his stellar job as A LEADER and that has not been mentioned by City Manager? Have you spoke to Chief Boeker? Because I have and as a TRUE LEADER he will tell you the accomplishments that have been made by the Brenham Fire Department is not just him, but the great group of staff that work there from the fire fighters, Marshall, and Administrative staff. As a leader your job is to guide and support your staff and be there for support and assist with any roadblocks they face. He then goes to his management for them to help give the resources for said roadblocks. Was this done? Sure does appear so according to the documents released. Chief Boeker’s ENTIRE personal folder was released and as I read there was not ONE thing ever entered that would have the grounds to have justification to put out to the citizens that he is a bad leader. Chief Boeker that has been portrayed as inefficient to lead the department with the growing city was also the same guy that spoke to his staff throughout this time to remain the leaders they are in the community and continue to treat everyone from city manager, mayor, and city council with the utmost respect. He feels horrible that this great group are now under a microscope which they do not deserve.
      As for the City Manager…no the city residents should not want his head on a platter if they have not tried engaging in dialog with him. Well I know that I have personally tried to have a conversation with him and I know of a handful of others that have as well and that is a FACT and either received no response or not allowed in his office at all and forced to stand in hall to speak to him. It doesn’t seem he likes to speak to anyone that has the hard questions on why he his doing what he is doing. Is it because he knows he might have crossed the line? Well we will never know that since the story changes or given just pieces of actual issues and not the full story. I’m not going to bash or call Mr Fisher names and yes he might be excellent in the business sense and yes managers have to make hard decisions that are not always popular, but I will say as a true leader he is lacking many imperative skills to lead a city government to make sure the employees are engaged and feel like their voices are heard and not just the ones that tell him what he wants to hear. Chief Boeker is not going to be liked by all and that goes for anyone in a management role but I know just like the City Manager he has to make decisions that are not always popular, but as a man that has never shown to do anything unethical or malicious and tries to do what is best for the department and community it serves he hands down has proven that in his tenure as Fire Chief. Should Mr. Fisher have brought a City Marshall with him to Fire Chief Boeker? No. Chief Boeker has been nothing but respectful to him and regardless of not accepting what “offer” was made for him and according to Fisher “I am giving you the opportunity to go out with your head held high” he should have been able to complete his term until the 15th. I understand that a city employee needs to be present as personal items are packed up to make sure City property is not damaged or taken but not giving Chief Boeker the opportunity to pack his belongings with supervision makes me question what they are trying to find or place to give them justification on what has transpired since March 15th (which knowing Boeker he has nothing to hide) So to sum it up, this is an educated response without emotion and what has been presented through valid documentation, not from gossip or people that hear only what they want to hear. It all boils down to there are problems as it appears not just with City Manager and Asst. City Manager (Miller) but HR Director, Mayor, and City Council. Employees should feel like they can speak the truth without fear of retaliation and the atmosphere at the city is fear right now and who is next. It’s sad but I hope the full truth comes out and some individuals decide to clear their conscious and admit the role they played. I doubt it because of their already proven character. Hopefully Chief Boeker has brought attention to this and things might change even if now his career and livelihood has ended.

  5. This article makes me teary, my heart is so sad for this man and his family, sounds like something a socialist Democrat would do. Probably about money. For SHAME

    1. “a socialist democrat”. What a thoroughly thoughtful statement. Could you elucidate further?

  6. This is just wrong! Sounds to me like Fisher has a friend working in the fire department telling him things that aren’t true! Wonder who that could be? Does Fisher have someone there he is close too?

    1. How do you fire a firefighter who places his life in immediate danger city of wake these people that is holding positions as city manager are not making wise Choices

  7. Well you will now see Fisher has already recruited another chief , stand by for that news and brace yourself .

    1. This is no way to treat a public servant. The way that well-connected, status-seeking Brenham elitists treat good citizens is pathetic. This town is not your personal kingdom.

      1. I don’t know either of these people, but I do know this. The city manager is hired by City Council as the city’s chief executive officer to run the day-to-day operations of the city in accordance with city government. That includes hiring and firing decisions. I also know that how well someone is liked by others in a community, how many generations someone’s family has been there and other criteria should be irrelevant. How close someone is to retirement is not relivant. Job performance is relevant. Maybe the fire chief was great at his job, and maybe he wasn’t. But those who object to the decision, as well as those who support it, should make their opinions and any relevant facts, other than ” he is a great guy,” known to city council and vote accordingly. As I understand it, the city manager “ain’t from around here.” Maybe that’s what Brenham needs for a change.

  8. If your unhappy with the current city council vote them out and out people In that will do something. Also we need more firefighters not more stupid assistant for a city manager that Well no one really knows if he is worth a darn. Obviously the man doesn’t have many that are confident in him.

  9. This is useful information provided by a law firm possibly involved in a lawsuit against the City of Brenham. What are the taxpayer ramifications of the lawsuit, and does the city carry insurance to cover a judgement in favor of Boeker?

    Does someone have the Bat Signal we can send up to let The Spectator know that we need help and answers!

  10. This just does not sound right. We are going to go in a “different direction” and so we fire a long term employee who has given so much to the city and escort him from the premises. Does this sound like the kind of method we want our city to use with our employees/community members who have given so much to us? This city manager has not appear to understand the city he WORKS FOR or the people he is in charge of managing and caring for. This guy has got to go! I think his stuff needs to be packed in one of the big ugly garbage dumpsters he forced us to accept and rolled out of Brenham. Enough is enough!

  11. I smell a rat…. I bet any money in the world he was escorted out and his office was probably ransacked for any information to get the city in more trouble…. Come on people wake up…. When will the city council wake up and see Fisher is no good. It is time for major changes on the city council….

        1. Amen to take. They both need to go. They lied about everything when it came to the dump and recycle center. They forced us all to go other places and start burning our recycle items or throw them into the garbage. They lied about laying employees off because they said no one would loss their jobs but they did. Now they fired a long time well loved employee. Ask other city employees who needs to leave or get fired and who should stay. They work for the city, not their friends they want to hire or the kick backs they are getting from the company they forced everyone to use for trash and recycling.

      1. Come on people, demand the now city council, and all the “ hero’s” running for office stand up and do the right thing??!!
        The city manger is who needs to go???
        He’s not from Brenham, he has no interest in the citizens here, the city is millions in debt, he stole the hotel tax from the smaller communities in the county, what’s he doing?? Why does a city this small need a city manager ? What’s the mayor and city council doing??? Oh yea they are in there 80s!! To old to hold office!
        It’s time to ask questions, why did the city manger call the fire department for a broken pipe? Why did he have a conversation with the fire chief in his driveway?
        Why is he not keeping all of this behind closed doors as the law says??? I think the city manger should be the one leaving his keys, and the citizens should demand it!!

        1. Pardon me, but are you saying someone in their eighties is incapable of doing their job? I happen to know many oldsters who have an edge over some of the younger ones when it comes to intelligence. I do not believe age has anything to do with competence. Shame on you!

    1. I hope Ricky’s lawyer sues the pants off the city for millions. And then we will see if fishman is worth it.

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