PLBC responds to fire chief’s comments

HARRISBURG, Sept. 27 – Several members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus have responded to Facebook comments made by former Cecil Township Volunteer Fire Department No. 2 Chief Paul Smith.

Chairman Jordan Harris, D-Phila., released a joint statement with state Rep. Jason Ortitay, R-Washington/Allegheny, earlier today calling Smith’s behavior out of step with the values of average Pennsylvanians.

Harris said, “Unlike athletes, celebrities, or even other citizens, he is a public servant who has held the trust of the general public in the capacity in which he serves them. That capacity came under question, due to his behavior, and he did the right thing by resigning.”

State Reps. W. Curtis Thomas, James Roebuck, Isabella Fitzgerald and Stephen Kinsey, all D-Phila., also commented on Smith’s actions.

Roebuck said, “His comments were inappropriate and brought into question his ability to do the job he was delegated to perform.”

Thomas said, “The actions of Fire Chief Smith were way out of line. I am glad that he has removed himself from a public institution. Now is the time for us to stand together, not apart from one another.”

Fitzgerald said, “Hate speech is unacceptable anywhere especially when one has the duty of protecting all citizens.”

Kinsey said, “Mr. Smith’s comments are unacceptable and should never be tolerated. This is yet another unfortunate reminder that although we have come a long way as a country, we have much more work to do. I hope this serves as a warning to others in positions of authority – and even everyday citizens – that there are consequences to spreading hate.”