MARKED TREE, Ark. (WREG) — A Mid-South fire chief said he was terminated after less than 10 months on the job for inappropriate use of emojis.
Allen hicks, the now former fire chief of Marked Tree, Arkansas, says he was wrongfully terminated after reacting to a costume meme that uses offensive and profane language to describe him.
“I was holding a chicken and it had chicken (expletive). That was the exact words it had on there,” said former fire chief Allen Hicks.
He said he responded to the poster through private messages that were later made public.
“I just told the boy if he had a problem with me don’t hide behind Snapchat come see me like a grown man, was no threats made against him or nothing else,” Hicks said.
Hicks shared this write-up given to him by mayor Danny Johnson. It said he violated city policy by making a Facebook post with inappropriate emojis that do not properly reflect the city.
Hicks said the post was a mix-up.
“They are talking about another Facebook post I made supposed to be giving the bird, but it was supposed to be the thumbs up,” he said.
Mayor Danny Johnson told WREG Monday night the city council voted to terminate Hicks.
“He just broke some policies of the city,” said Mayor Danny Johnson.
This isn’t the first time Hicks has served Marked Tree as fire chief.
He said he was fired from the chief position a few years ago and then hired again in March. Both now and then he claims small-town politics came into play. However, the mayor maintains that the issue is not about politics but policy.
“The social media, the unethical things that he done giving the bird and stuff like that,” said Johnson.
Nonetheless, Hicks says he wants the job back.
“It’s revenge, it’s coming from a former firefighter that got terminated,” Hicks added. “I’m fixing to seek legal action and I’m fixing to sue the city.”
While the political fire may take time to put out, the mayor says the department is under control.
“The fire department is in good hands they have always been in good hands. They’ve got experienced people there is nothing to worry about,” said Johnson.
Mayor Danny Johnson told us he will not be going against the city council and re-instating Hicks as fire chief. He tells me he does plan to appoint a new fire chief by next week.