Charlotte paramedic under attack: Demand fair treatment for Stewie

The Charlotte Volunteer Fire and Rescue Services (CVFRS) Corporate Board abruptly decided to remove Charlotte Rescue Paramedic David “Stewie” Stewart at an emergency meeting held at the Charlotte Senior Center on Saturday, April 30. The meeting had been called in order to address an unrelated issue concerning the resignation of the newly appointed Rescue Director. No notice or warning was given regarding discussions concerning the employment of Stewie. In addition to the hardship imposed on Stewie, whom many in this community owe their life or the wellness of a loved one, this hasty and ill-advised action threatens to leave CVFRS without the ability to meet the needs of the community.

By terminating Stewie this way, the CVFRS Corporate Board has violated its own written personnel policy in two ways. First, the policy sets out a process for progressive discipline by which management clearly articulates perceived problems, outlines a timeline for the specific changes expected, and clarifies the way that failure to meet specified expectations will result in termination. Second, the CVFRS personnel policy includes extensive provisions to insure employees have an opportunity to address issues regarding their performance. The Corporate Board has not provided Stewie with details surrounding the reasons for his removal, and has prevented his direct supervisors from initiating the process of progressive discipline. The Corporate Board evokes “at will” status of its employees to circumvent its own policies. This is wrong and grossly unfair.

Stewie has been a paramedic for over 14 years, the last five of which have been served at CVFRS. There are several people now living in Charlotte and neighboring towns who would not be alive today had Stewie not been there to perform his paramedic duties. He truly “rescued” them. During the past five years he has been on hundreds of calls, at all hours, including responding during non-assigned hours. His patient care and professionalism have been well noted by families and individuals he has treated. More importantly, Stewie lives in our town. He is one of us, cares deeply for our well-being and is respected widely by members of Charlotte Rescue. His treatment by the CVFRS Board is grossly unfair and unfitting for someone who has given so much to our community.

Please email John Howe at johnh@gmavt.net and support fair treatment for a valued first responder.

John Howe, Charlotte’s Acting Rescue Chief

Pam Dawson, Charlotte’s former Acting Rescue Chief