ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Orange County Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Stephen Davis was fired on Tuesday after failing to follow a direct order over a COVID-19 vaccine mandate, according to county officials.
County officials said this was due to his refusal to issue a disciplinary action over vaccine verifications on Oct. 5.
Records show on Oct. 4 Davis knew the county was going to begin testing personnel who did not complete vaccination verification.
Davis did not write up employees who did not give their COVID-19 vaccination status.
Records show Davis refused to comply to orders from Chief Kimberly Buffkin to issue reprimands to personnel who did not complete vaccination verification.
In July, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said all county employees would be required to be fully vaccinated by Sept. 30.
In September, Demings said any firefighter who did not comply with the county’s vaccinate mandate would get hit with a written reprimand.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday was asked about the firing of Davis.
“I think the firing was totally inappropriate. I think it’s ridiculous.” DeSantis said. “These are people (who) have served our communities and they’re being tossed aside. I mean it is illegal to do it. There’s going to be a response and I think, ultimately, he will prevail. Whatever we can do, we’re going to do.”
Davis was hired in April 2007 and was promoted to Battalion Chief three years ago, according to officials.