When the local union of the Naples Fire-Rescue Department said last October its members had lost confidence in their chief, Steve McInerny, the group's action highlighted evidence of his troubled tenure.
City Council members had expressed concerns about McInerny for years. There were public spats during annual budget talks when the council rejected McInerny's expensive requests for new equipment, and McInerny was accused of over-reporting fire incidents to justify new spending.
The issues came to a head on March 15, Election Day, when City Manager Bill Moss sent a 6:30 p.m. email to council members notifying them that McInerny had been let go. Moss said the action "should not be interpreted as a disciplinary firing."
"The decision was made in recognition that his management style is no longer suitable in the present environment, considering the current department staff, the community at-large, and the transitions that will likely occur in the fire-rescue service over the relatively near term," Moss said. Prior to his firing, McInerny was well received at City Hall and by the media. His personnel file is clean, and he received high marks on his end-of-year performance reviews written by Moss, as recently as 2014, city records show.