by SC Publisher Shannen Hayes
photo by SC Associate Publisher Chuck Larsen
Sanibel Fire & Rescue District Deputy Chief of Training Tim Barrett is back at work after being placed on administrative leave in September for his role in the issuance of a forged Basic Life Support renewal card. Barrett received two weeks unpaid leave and six months probation.
The Sanibel Fire District Board of Commissioners – Jerry Muench, Bruce Cochrane and Richard McCurry – had placed Barrett and then Fire Chief Matt Scott on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation by the board’s law firm Lewis, Longman & Walker.
A report by the firm’s attorney Glenn Thomas showed Matt Scott’s wife Lisa, now a former Lee County Emergency Medical Technician, had contacted her husband in August for a new BLS card when she realized it was about to expire. Barrett issued her a new card, but told Thomas it was under Matt’s direction.
Barrett said he assumed Lisa would take the required course and test for the new card, even though Matt never said she would and he never asked her directly. Thomas reported that Barrett was “adamant” he would not have issued the card if he knew Lisa was not going to take the course or test.
Barrett described how Matt had “used intimidation tactics in the past when confronted” and indicated that was also a factor into his decision to issue the renewal card. Matt denied having anything to do with Lisa obtaining a fraudulent BLS renewal card, when he was interviewed by Thomas.
Lisa admitted to her employer that she never took the necessary course or test to receive the card. She and her husband resigned from their positions. Matt had been with the Sanibel Fire District for more than 30 years and Lisa had a 20-year career with Lee County Emergency Medical Services.
The Sanibel Fire District Board of Commissioners unanimously appointed Bill Briscoe as fire chief in October and agreed he would decide on the disciplinary action for Barrett, who has been with the district for more than 20 years, holds several certifications and is responsible for training members in every aspect of emergency response.
In October, Briscoe said he would read the 12-page investigative report by Thomas and interview Barrett himself before making his decision. He and Barrett were unavailable for further comments.