- About NCO
According to a press release from the Astoria Police Department, this afternoon Interim Fire Chief Pete Curzon announced that Deputy Fire Chief Steve Straily has resigned after an internal investigation was conducted. Chief of Police Curzon, who also is acting as the Interim Fire Chief, directed Deputy Police Chief Brad Johnston, to conduct the investigation with Astoria City Manager Paul Benoit’s concurrence. The investigation was deemed necessary due to rumors that Straily falsely claimed qualifications he did not possess, as well as other matters also the subject of the current inquiry. Chief Curzon declined to describe those other matters.
The investigation, which is not complete and which does not include an interview of Straily, established clearly in Chief Curzon’s opinion that Straily made false claims two years ago in his application to become Astoria’s Deputy Fire Chief.
Straily was hired as the City of Astoria’s new Deputy Fire Chief/Training Chief in May, 2010. Straily grew up in southern California and worked most recently in Springfield, Oregon, in a similar position according to a press release from the city at the time of his hiring.
Johnston’s investigative audit of training records at the Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training, the licensing agency for public safety professionals, revealed that Straily forged a signature on a certificate of training and falsified other training information, allegedly claiming qualifications he did not possess. The investigation addresses other matters which Straily denied in a meeting that led to his voluntary resignation.
Curzon announced, in meetings with the members of the Astoria Fire Department, the appointment of three Astoria firefighters to acting positions. Curzon said he is confident in the professionalism of the career fire officers, firefighters and volunteers serving in the City Fire Department and that public safety services will in no way be diminished by Straily’s actions.
Chief Curzon stated that the information discovered during Johnston’s investigation was extremely disappointing to everyone, both professionally and personally. Curzon stated, however, that “nothing can diminish the seriousness of official misconduct in public service, especially at the command and leadership level where trust, integrity and competency are critical.” Curzon said that Straily’s decision was in the best interest of the fire service, the Astoria Fire Department and himself.
(Updated Thursday morning with picture and Strailey’s hire date and former employment information.)