5 thoughts on JCFD Chief Steven McGill pulling out cigar at deadly Union City fire

Real Jersey City publisher Michael Shurin has five thoughts on JCFD Chief Steven McGill’s disgraceful behavior at the scene of a deadly fire in Union City, NJ.

JCFD Chief Steven McGill

1) The Story

According to multiple sources, Jersey City Fire Department (JCFD) Chief Steven McGill allegedly smoked a cigar at the scene of a tragic Union City fire that left five children dead. The behavior has been characterized, at best, as disgraceful and offensive to many firefighters that were involved in rescue efforts.

It’s standard protocol that first responders involved in a traumatic event attend a Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CISD) meeting. McGill, who was at the scene while JCFD provided mutual aid, apparently drew the ire of many North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue (NHRFR) firefighters that participated in a CISD meeting following the July 13 blaze.

NHRFR firefighters were supposedly “beside themselves” that McGill was smoking a cigar at the scene, which is considered highly unprofessional, while they attempted to save the lives of children. Real Jersey City has obtained a photograph of McGill with a cigar in his hand at the scene, see below:

2) Time to Resign or be Fired

I’m going to get straight to the point – McGill should immediately step down for behavior unbecoming of a fire chief. I’m confident enough to make that statement due to the intense response I’ve received from various sources, both JCFD and NHRFR.

If he chooses not to step down, Mayor Steven Fulop should show him the door for the shame he’s brought to the department.

3) Product of the System

McGill’s leadership is a direct result of what happens when nepotism and politics are promoted, white privilege for lack of a better term. Also, like disgraced ex-JCPD Chief Philip Zacche, he’s obedient to Public Safety Director James Shea and cares more about himself than the department.

Unfortunately, this all could have been avoided if the Fulop Administration respected the civil service test for chief rather than playing games with the Rule of Three. Instead of hiring the top scorer of a comprehensive test administered by a committee of experts, Fulop and Shea used a loophole in the system to pick McGill.

Despite finishing a distant second place on the test, he was selected under the false premise that they wanted to hire a Jersey City resident.

4) Once McGill is gone, make Lallo acting-chief

JCFD Deputy Chief Gregory Lallo, the person who not only finished first on the test, but also dominated the current chief, should at the very least be named acting-chief once McGill is removed. Whether a new test is opened after that is something for the proper stakeholders to decide.

5) Last one is for McGill’s defenders

McGill’s bosses and cronies will make every excuse in the book for him, but he’ll walk away from this with no real repercussions like the Hoboken DWI – so there’s nothing to worry about for good ole’ Steven. My only question, though, if he wasn’t at the scene in a professional duty, then why stand in the background of a press conference?

Regardless, a deadly fire in Union City is a pretty callous time to pull out a cigar and not the type of behavior that properly represents the many great JCFD firefighters.

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