Des Moines Fire Chief Responds To Criticisms

Fire Union Voted 'No Confidence' In Chief John TeKippe

By Nikki Davidson |

Published 10/12 2015 10:34PM

Updated 10/12 2015 10:34PM

The Des Moines Firefighter's Union has been calling for the firing of their boss Chief John TeKippe for months accusing that his lack of leadership, integrity and safety standards is putting the entire department at risk. 

Monday dozens of members of the fire department union and their family attended a city council meeting to ask city leaders to support a change. 

Chief TeKippe, city leaders, and fire union representatives also met for a private meeting earlier in the day to discuss a solution to the long-standing dispute within the department. 

Chief TeKippe told Local 5 that he felt the private meeting went well, and was surprised by the tone of the public council meeting later in the day. 

"It's disheartening for comments to be made here three hours after I think everyone would agree there was a positive and constructive discussion," said Chief TeKippe. "The council meeting was something very different." 

Despite a city council room full of concerned firefighters, calling for a change in leadership Chief TeKippe believes a solution can be found. 

"I believe I can lead and people will follow," said TeKippe. 

He says he won't elaborate on exactly he believes the solution will be to the public.

"A solution to the problem is between us, that's not for the cameras, the paper, or a political campaign," said TeKippe. "It's people sitting down working it out instead of taking positions or talking points." 

The Firefighter's Union President Joe Van Haalen says there's a long road ahead before this dispute can be settled.

"The problem is what we're hearing from the Chief is the same old rhetoric," said Van Haalen. "We know his track record isn't good and we have concerns about that." 

Despite pressure from the Firefighter's Union to step down, Chief TeKippe says he's standing his ground. 

"I'm not going anywhere, I've worked hard to become Chief and I work hard at being the Chief," said TeKippe. 

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