We are forlorn as we announce the twelfth recipient of the coveted and increasingly prestigious Sunshine Troublemaker of the Week award.
Adams is (or was) a volunteer fireman. He is also a board member of the Oakland-Promise Land Volunteer Fire Department. His requests for more detailed financial information were not met with success, so he filed an Arkansas FOIA asking for a copy of the department’s income and expenses.
Shortly thereafter, he was dismissed from his job. He was dismissed by Fire Chief Mike Scrima. When a local reporter asked why Adams had been dismissed, Scrima “could not detail the reasons for the dismissal”.
My own hometown, the beauteous Spring Green, Wisconsin has a volunteer fire department. One of its mainstays suffered a heart attack a few years back and some of the regular volunteers aren’t able to put in as much time as they used to. They are stretched pretty thin, and the community is wondering whether what the future holds. Volunteer firefighters must be a lot easier to come by in the Oakland-Promise area of Arkansas. They are lucky.
At the same time, it seems very excessive to fire someone from his volunteer job as a fireman because he filed a FOIA request to see some budget figures for the organization on whose board he serves, also as a volunteer.
Harry, we’re sorry that you’ll no longer be allowed to put your life and limbs at risk to fight fires because you filed an open records request. At the same time, we salute your spirit of responsibility toward the governance and budgeting process on the fire department board, and your persistence.
We’re happy to welcome you as the 12th inductee to the STOTW Hall of Fame.