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Friday, July 20, 2007

Sometimes a Diploma Mill Story...

... can reveal systemic corruption. Frankfort Kentucky's firefighters are pissed about it.

'Franklin County's Director of Disaster and Emergency Services obtained his job with a degree from a diploma mill.

Now city officials are paying for Deron Rambo to go back to school and get the bachelors degree the job requires. [No bachelor's degree, and he bought a master's from a mill. The city's response? All is forgiven. Let us pay for you to go to school.]

The decision has outraged members of Local 1017 who packed union headquarters Tuesday night making sure to leave space for the evening's special guest.

Only Mayor Bill May never showed.

"He conveniently e-mailed me back and said he had a scheduling conflict that he couldn't make it," said Union President John Haden.

The action considered to be the latest slap in the face to Frankfort employees.

"The chief made up his mind and the city manager, the commission and the personnel director they've all said they're done. That's their decision and that's the way it's going to be," Haden continued.

After discovering that Rambo's master's degree was from a diploma mill, and that he never even had a bachelor's degree, the city has decided to let him stay and at a recent council meeting the mayor made this quite apparent.

The city maintains Rambo was duped into thinking this degree was from an accredited university but these union members aren't buying it.

"Either way he was frauded, or he was stupid, so either way he's not qualified to do the job. [Too right.] And then he calls us unprofessional because we bring it up and that really irritates me. I've earned everything that I've got," said Lt. Jeff Brooks.

In fact, many firefighters believe they were qualified for Rambo's position but were passed over.

"It took me four years and 16 full-time credit hours to get my bachelor's degree," said firefighter Gary Gebhardt.

"They did effectively discriminate against every single one of us by telling us up front that we were not eligible for this position," echoed Sgt. Jack Williams.

Not only do they feel discriminated against, these union members fear the action sets a strong precedent in allowing policy to be changed at any time.

"It's not a union issue, it's a fire department issue. It effects [should be affects] every member of this fire department because that means from now on they can change any policy, any qualification and promote whoever they want, whenever they want. If you don't stand up now they're going to keep on doing it," said KPFF President Bruce Roberts.

The union is looking into the possibility of filing a class action lawsuit against the city on the basis of discrimination.'