The FDNY has relieved James Leonard of his duties as chief of the department, the FDNY’s highest-ranking uniform, while he is investigated for “inappropriate behavior,” according to officials.
The department declined to outline the conduct but the New York Daily News has reported Leonard clashed with the FDNY’s highest-ranking woman, used misogynistic slurs and was generally aggressive and abrasive.
“While a review is conducted by the city’s law department concerning allegations of inappropriate behavior, Chief James Leonard has been relieved of his duties as Chief of Department effective today and placed on modified assignment,” Deputy Commissioner Francis Gribbon said in a statement.
Chief of Operations John Sudnik is serving as acting chief of department, the FDNY said.
The FDNY has struggled to adapt to modern standards of diversity and hiring. Women make up less than 1 percent of the force, according to the FDNY, and the department fought for decades with the association of black firefighters.