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“I wasn’t worried about Chief Sloan,” Lt. Dent said. “You get to know which guys are honorable guys, and Chief Sloan has always had the reputation of doing the right thing.”

Lt. Dent said he worries that if Chief Ellerbe disagrees with Chief Sloan’s ruling, the chief may choose to step in to alter the decision in the case.

Mr. Walls said the fire chief has the final authority on disciplinary cases, but he typically signs off on a battalion chief’s findings.

As part of Chief Sloan’s findings, he determined that Lt. Dent was not present at the fire station when the beer was delivered, so he could not be held accountable for accepting a gift. He also ruled that when Lt. Dent was notified by another firefighter that there was still beer in the station refrigerator, he told the firefighter to get rid of it but did not have enough time to check to ensure the order was followed through before Chief Ellerbe arrived.

Chief Sloan said the investigation was unusual and that evidence in the case went missing. In one instance, when he requested copies of taped interviews with witnesses the administration simply sent him paper photocopies of CDs, rather than the CDs themselves.

As a result of the transfer, which means that Chief Sloan now reports to work five days a week instead of working a full 24 hours followed by three full days off, he may be forced into retirement.

“My parents are both elderly and I’m the primary caregiver,” he said. “On my days off, a lot of my time is spent taking care of them.”

He also estimates he will lose $10,000 in annual pay due to the shift change.

Chief Sloan plans to file a complaint regarding the transfer.