George Cushingberry Jr. (Clarence Tabb Jr. / The Detroit News)
Detroit—City Council President Pro Tem George Cushingberry Jr. is shutting down a Facebook page, after again angering users who took him to task for a post that many felt was flippant and disparaging of Detroit firefighters.
The inflammatory post, “The Detroit Fire Department is the Best Bed and Breakfast place to work. Especially for young people. Apply today!” appeared Thursday night on the official Facebook page of Councilman George Cushingberry Jr., Detroit City Council District #2.
Cushingberry said Friday that the page has been shut down and the person responsible for its management has been relieved of duties.
“I disavow the unfortunate posts and now I will personally manage it,” he said Friday. He said the site will be divided into an opinion page and an official page.
The original post drew the ire of not only local folks but those out-of-state such as Chris Sekul, a firefighter in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., who wrote, “Your post is ignorant and misplaced at best. I believe you have an apology to formulate and offer to the fine firefighters of the DFD.”
The person responsible for the management of the site seemingly tried to appease angry commenters with posts such as “The fire department we love. If I were younger I would have joined the force,” and “Being a firefighter is exciting and rewarding career. They can also cook like a top of the line Chefs such as Rachel Ray and Wolfgang Puck.”
Other posts read, “you all took a retired firefighter joke to seriously” and “In all seriousness DFD pensions will be protected and equipment will be upgraded.”
Sekul, who called The Detroit News Friday, said the Cushingberry staffer may have went to a firehouse and observed firefighters during downtime, but such periods shouldn’t take away from the fact that men and women put their lives on the line every day.
“Just because the insurance policy on your house isn’t working all the time, doesn’t mean that it isn’t there,” said Sekul. “When we are there, we are asked to do a job that nobody else will do. He made an ignorant, bigoted statement about firefighters as if that small window of what was seen, is their entire job.”
Sekul said that considering Cushingberry’s position he should not have given someone else the power to post comments on the Facebook page without approval. The firefighter added that before disabling the page, Cushingberry should have offered an earnest apology on the thread.
“I think he owes firefighters, worldwide, nationwide, and certainly in Detroit an apology,” said Sekul. “Anything shy of that, I don’t have a lot of respect or regard for him.”
Cushingberry has used social media to profanely fire back at his critics, while also expressing support for the police sergeant who is under investigation for allowing the councilman to drive away with only a ticket after officers reportedly caught him with marijuana and an open intoxicant in his car.