MCFR fire chief candidate accused of harassment against women and lack of higher education

ocala news, ocala post, op, marion county , corruption, fire chief, harassment against women,
Paul Nevels, 2014 file photo [MCFR]
Ocala, Florida — On August 26, acting County Administrator Mounir Bouyounes selected Deputy Fire Chief Paul Nevels as the candidate to become the next Marion County Fire Chief.

Bouyounes will present his selection to the Marion County Board of County Commissioners during its regular meeting on Tuesday, September 1.

According to Marion County Public Information Manager Barbra Hernández, the hiring process included an initial round of interviews with six qualified applicants by a panel of local and regional fire rescue and governmental officials. A second round of interviews for the top two finalists took place a little over a week ago, which were conducted by Bouyounes and Jeannie Rickman, Assistant County Administrator of Public Services.

Over the past few weeks, Ocala Post has received dozens of e-mails in regards to corruption within the Marion County government. One of the e-mails included accusations of discrimination against women, which prompted Ocala Post to investigate.

Through several public records requests, Ocala Post was able to obtain the scoring sheets for two fire chief applicants, Paul Nevels and Shari Hall.

The applicants were scored based on their answers to 10 questions that address all of the major areas and requirements of the fire chief position.

In several areas required of the job, interviewers noted that Nevels showed “strong evidence that skills were not present.”

For Marion County taxpayers, an important issue is budget, which is an essential skill as a fire chief.

Question number five on the score sheet reads: What is the process you would use to prepare and present the department budget?

One of the three interviewers noted that Nevels showed “strong evidence that skills were not present,” while the remaining two interviewers noted that Nevels showed “some evidence of skill present in budgeting.”

Hall, on the other hand, showed “very strong evidence of skills present in budgeting.” This was indicated by two of the interviewers. The remaining interviewer noted that Hall showed “an advanced level of knowledge or experience in budgeting.”

Overall, Hall outscored Nevels and showed that she had skills in all areas of the position of fire chief.

In May, Ocala Post researched the requirements of the job, and found that then heir apparent Paul Nevels met very few of the qualifications to be a fire chief.

According to the job description, a fire chief is required to have a bachelor’s degree in fire science, business administration, public administration or other related field, with a master’s degree highly preferred. Also required is five years experience as a company officer in a combat firefighting position; hold, or at least be able to hold, an EMT certificate; be a Florida Professional Geologists or equivalent; have a driver’s license; and have an emergency vehicle operations certificate, or EVOC. The job description further states that having a National Fire Association Executive Fire Officer certificate is preferred.

But, a review of county records indicated that Paul Nevels only meets two of those requirements – he has a driver’s license and EVOC.

According to state records, at one time Nevels was an EMT, but his license has been labeled as “Null and Void” since 2012. This means he would have to go back to school for a semester to retake the course and pass the state exam to become certified again. If he doesn’t, placing Nevels in this position would be no different than giving a firefighter a gun and promoting him to a law enforcement position without proper training.

More astonishingly, it would appear that Nevels would not be qualified to be hired today as an entry-level firefighter, as he neither has a CPR card nor has he taken the federally required refresher courses to at least be considered a first responder.

Nevels would be handed a top-level position with a six-figure salary of $109,990.40 annually, and he is not even qualified for the job. His current salary as deputy chief is $103,209.60.

Meanwhile, first responders who actually save lives — and risk their own — barely make the wages of someone who flips burgers for a living.

Hall, according to her resume, is a certified firefighter/EMT, a State Certified Paramedic, and holds an Associate’s Degree in Emergency Medical Services.

She is currently the Support Services Division Chief for MCFR.

So, are woman being discriminated against at MCFR and by the BOCC?

Angie Sweeney, a former senior inspector/Investigator with MCFR, says absolutely.

Sweeney says that she served MCFR with her heart and soul for 27 years and 8 months, only to be forced into retirement because she got sick.

She said she was forced out and her position was given to a man because Marion County suffers from the “good ole’ boy” syndrome.

In an e-mail, Sweeney wrote, “Due to the male who took my position stating the salary was not enough money, the BOCC re-classified the position to ‘Fire Plans and Inspection Manager’ and significantly bumped the pay grade.”

She went on to say, “Sounds like sexual discrimination to me. The time I put in meant absolutely nothing to the BOCC or fire officials. I can only hope that I made some difference to the citizens of Marion County.”

The proposed wage contract presented to the firefighter union by the county, which was rejected by the union, does contain language that clarifies the amount of time an employee could be out on a leave of absence.  If a firefighter has surgery, gets cancer, or has any other illness, the firefighter would not be able to take a leave of absence that would exceed 19 months in a 24-month period. If they did, they would be terminated.

According to public records, harassment complaints from women are nothing new within MCFR.

Nevels has had two discrimination and harassment complaints filed against him in a little over a year.

The last discrimination and harassment complaint was filed on May 14, by 26-year-veteran female firefighter paramedic Captain Angela Tutino.

On May 29, as with the first complaint made by a female firefighter paramedic, BOCC director of Human Resources Amanda Tart wrote in a memo, “On the face of the complaint I find it does not establish a violation of the Marion County Board of County Commissioners Harassment Policy nor the Harassment Policy in your Collective Bargaining Agreement.”

In her complaint, Tutino wrote that a culture has been created within the fire department that makes it acceptable to harass women.

She said Nevels has a bad attitude toward women.

So, how does a person who scores low during a job interview, does not have the proper education, and has a history of discriminating against women, get recommended for the position of fire chief?

Bouyounes told Ocala Post via e-mail that Nevels was chosen because he scored higher during a second interview.

Nevertheless, a reasonable person could conclude that even if Nevels did score higher during a second interview, he lacks the education and skills to hold the position.

If Nevels is hired as fire chief, Marion County will have set the lowest standards for a fire chief in the region, while every county bordering Marion County, including the cities of Ocala, Leesburg, and Micanopy, require dual certification and advanced degrees.

As for Sweeney, she says she is currently seeking legal counsel.

This is a developing story. Ocala Post will keep you updated as more information is obtained.

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  • tomfromocala

    While I think Nevels is despicable, Ocala Post should look at MCSO. Blair hired Major Terry Bovaird out of retirement in hopes of taking over the criminal justice center at CF, but his plans backfired and he appointed him to another position making 102,000 a year. Bovaird DOES NOT HAVE A DEGREE. HE HAS A GED. OP, please do not be fooled by Blair or his klan.

    • john1967

      That is a true statement. I have sent OP letters to that effect.

    • Randy Morris

      When they all come together on a Monday morning to announce the big Eustis Police Department bombing BS which originated at the Lake County Jail run by the pedophile Lake Sheriff and central rumors said even the FBI knew it was all bull schet – that alone put Blair in the sack with most of the other local sheriff’s Borders, Eslinger, Johnson, and the Polk movie star Grady Judd- the jury is still out of Sumter Sheriff Farmer – even though he has a lot of Villages pressure on him he rarely caves to their BS! A lot of people thought as hard as SA Brad King tried to keep Blair out of office that Blair must not have signed on the Mel Sembler Bush mob gang – But they put a lot of pressure on Blair with is campaign finance issues – they are good at that Brad King has done that to everyone he could not control including his former bss Ray Gill – who once said keeping King on was the worst mistake he ever made when he was first elected state attorney. Maybe others with ethics (If any exists) would do well to look at the scum they keep around when they get “errected!”

    • Diane

      I wouldn’t give a dime for Nevels or Hall. Both have harassed women. Nevels has moved to the top by the good ole boy system. Hall is just a BSer that has rode a desk for most all her time in the fire service. If Marion County can’t do any better that these two we are in some deep dodo.

  • Rich Eubanks

    I didn’t see what degree, if any, Nevels has. And an associates degree doesn’t really seem to qualify Hall either. There has to be more qualified folks who would want a six figure job.

  • Karen M

    First of all the ‘new chief’ seems to have friends in high places! the lady firefighter has more qualifications ! just because she doesn’t have a ‘Masters’ degree shouldn’t disqualify her when her other qualifications far out-weighed Mr. Nevel and at least she has a degree and she can easily get her masters (make part of her pay increase contingent on it !) speaking of pay for Marion county firefighters, I am ashamed to say that some make about the same as a hamburger flipper at McDonalds! The current requirements include being an EMT (which in of itself is a very admirable skill set!) but they also have to have passed tough tests to stay certified ! and THEN they have to put themselves in danger each time they go to ‘work’? for the lowest pay in Florida? Besides L.E.O’s this job has to be worth a whole lot more! but if my reading skills are intact it looks like a man with fewer qualifications is now CHIEF???? and making over 100kwhile the ‘front line’ heroes make a paltry wage>? Come on Ocala Commissioners, stop embarrassing OcalaI I also have heard that we are losing firefighters who are quitting & taking their skills & education to other counties where the tax-payers appreciate their skills enough to pay them a decent wage ! Again Marion County citizens/taxpayers are the losers!

    • Randy Morris

      He has “friends in high places” alright! All of these “officials” have friends or they would be gone. The Bush NWO mob controls everything in Florida – GOPer money man Mel Sembler founder of Straight, Inc the nations largest mostly repub pedophile mostly homo organizations has been installing their “minions” in local formerly known as public offices for the better part of a decade now. The path to Devilution and the New World Order. Run by Co-Governor’s Jeb Bush and Rick Scott! Does anyone really believe in an ethical county and state that officials from sheriff’s to state attorney, judges and even the FDLE and the Governor himself would all come together to lie and concoct a fake arrest, prosecution and sentencing of a brutal child rapist Like Lake Sheriff Borders and his perverted friends done for his little bot toy Tyler Anthony Jackson – brutally raped five little boys at Sheriff Borders Green Isle Ranch in Clermont – never really arrested – never made to register as a sex offender and now he’s the adm asst at the Centers for Children and Families here in Ocala. Better watch your little boys around this protected child molester for sure – what’s a few more raped little boys going to matter when his friends in high places will cover then up too?

      The Devil has taken our children away from their parents!

      Satanic Temple to Distribute Materials To School Children in Florida

      Friday, September 19, 2014 3:58 – AND SO IT BEGINS:
      Satanic Temple to Distribute Materials to School Children in Florida

      Vatic Note: We published several blogs on here proving that the move toward a one world government was a Satanic inspired and conducted move. These khazar Zionists doing this and their 13 bloodline illums are all satanists and this is about destroying Christianity.

      As proven both the Russian Revolution, where these
      khazar zionists murdered 60 plus million Christians over the life time of the Soviet Union, and as they did in Germany as well. Even though we never hear about that, its a proven fact that happened at the hands of the soviet Zionists running that government, at the end of the war. In the protocols, the Rothschild cabal wrote up the need to go through the children in order to affect permanent change when they become adults.

      So, NOW IT BEGINS, the movement through our children toward a Satanic One World Government. Common Core! If I were the opponents of such moves, I would petition the board that approved this to make it fair, by telling ALL THE TRUTH and not just some of it. The Temple of Satan would have to disclose their
      ritual sexual abuse they perform and their pedophiling of Children and their bloodletting of those same children once they are done pedophiling them.

      I think that might make a huge difference. If they do not require that, then the school board has been taken over by the Powers that be. We did a blog indicating that the Zionists were now moving down from the federal and state levels to take over local level policy boards and we are seeing it here in my podunk town, so we know its going on everywhere.

      We published that they were sending out 30,000
      mossad agents country wide into local towns, counties and muni’s. The cover story for these Zionist agents is going to be “moving companies” so watch out for either new companies or buying out of existing ones. YOUR SHERIFF IS NOW THE MOST IMPORTANT MAN/WOMAN IN YOUR COUNTY. Be sure s/he works
      for you. [Truth is very few do – they have replaced most honest, moral sheriff’s with their dark side perverts!]

      Get a hold of Sheriff Mack and have his group check
      out your sheriff and let you know if he is one of them or not. You won’t be sorry later, when it will become very important to your well being, that he is on the people’s side. Also connect with your local oathkeepers and
      unorganized militia.

      The Satanic Temple has announced that it will provide
      pamphlets on Satanism to students in Florida, following the school board’s decision permitting the distribution of religious materials.

      By Truther, PakAlert Press,

  • john1967

    It also helps that Nevels is personal friends with Commissioner Moore. Basically what they did was lower the hiring standards so Nevels could get in.

    • Randy Morris

      Friends of Carl Zalak who followed him from NY to Miami and back up here don’t do bad either. What about the $20 million we paid senator dump Dean for using his Bushnell dump? After Zalak said we had another 25-30 at our eagle killing dump?

  • jansid

    Why is there not a name associated with this article? I do not know the history, the reality, or the truth of this situation. What I do know is that whomever has written this article is obviously doing whatever they can to harass and belittle Mr. Nevels. I am all for women being hired and paid like their male counterparts but I don’t like when journalists enjoy throwing people under the bus.

    Why not write about the pitiful pay the Marion firefighters are paid.? That is criminal and unfair. I forever resent the implications of not having a higher education. I did not finish college and was able to run a very successful business on my own for many years. I learned my skills in Life University.

    • tomfromocala

      OP has written plenty about Firefighter pay as well as the pay for deputies. They report both sides and this article is dead on. Sometimes, the truth hurts.

    • Shyanha

      For the position Nevels may be filling The Life University is insufficient. The man isn’t even an EMT for Pete’s sake. Budgeting is a Major deal, hence the Numerous articles regarding the woeful pay our first responders receive. If that’s not enough of a sorry how about the equipment failures that occur regularly? How many articles have focused on That aspect? Holy cow – I know I wouldn’t want my family member entrusted to a rescue that has a good chance of breaking down on the way to Shands.

      Many folks are able to find success without a degree but there are certain positions for which a higher education is detrimental. Public safety is one of those. If the current applicants don’t fit the bill then widen the search. We have a good applicant for County Admin but they’re not settling there. Public safety is Not an area in which the county should settle.

  • nope

    Why don’t you look at what firefighters are getting paid instead of making false accusations?

    • tomfromocala

      The accusations are not false. They are also public record.

  • Passlinebet

    Yeah, scored higher on a “second” interview. You know, the double secret no one knew about interview. Wow…I thought Los Angeles and other big cities was the hotseat of scum bag political cronyism. But alas it has seemed to have made it out to the sticks.