Mutiny at the Firehouse, Part 5: Bullying, lies, ‘kick back’ allegations

According to, “Mutiny is justified when the order being disregarded is itself illegal, or when the officer against whom the mutiny is directed is engaged in an illegal course of action.” In Ocean Shores, firefighter-mutineers certainly felt justified in turning against their chief. According to Judge Benjamin Settle’s “Findings of Fact,” Ocean Shores firefighter leaders marched into Mayor Crystal Dingler’s office in Dec. 13, 2018, demanding she take action against then-Chief David Bathke. (Bathke later vigouroulsy disputed all the charges, which the judge shows in a chart, see below). Among their allegations: Engages in bullying, intimidation, and favoritism; displays anger; and is narcissistic;

False statement attributed to Mayor. Mayor did not order Bathke to purchase a new command vehicle as Bathke asserted;

Bunker Gear: New Bunker Gear poorly fitting and of marginal quality. Got a “kick-back” from vendor;

Bathke responded negatively in connection with an issue involving Lt. Kuhl.Manner was abrasive, co unterproductive and “reflected poorly on our agency.”;

Made statement about having council member. Bathke had been heard boasting that he had a council member in his pocket;

Hiring afriend from Wisconsin over the Fourth of July:Hired a friend for extra coverage on holiday “rather than allowing one of your seasoned Fire Captains to be in charge of the station.” Friend paid more than others and did not know procedures;

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