ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) — The St. Petersburg Fire Rescue Chief remains on administrative leave amid anonymous accusations that he created a hostile work environment, but some of his supporters went before city council Thursday afternoon to dispute the claims against him.

“Our workplace is not inhospitable to women,” Lt. Teresa Bieber-Rehsi said.

Bieber-Rehsi is one of three female firefighters who publicly pushed back against the allegations from the city’s anonymous employee survey that Chief Jim Large created a hostile workplace that lacks inclusivity and diversity.

“The fire department I know is one of opportunity and a level playing field for those who respect procedure and put in the work,” she said.

Capt. Lindsey Kensinger told city council that Large supported her through childbirth complications. She also credits him with helping her rise through the ranks at the department.

“It is this culture of support and empowerment that Chief Large has cultivated leading to my current position as a proud female captain,” Kensinger said. “A role I never once thought I could achieve without this incredible guidance provided.”

Esther Matthews, president of the St. Petersburgh branch of the NAACP sent Mayor Ken Welch a letter calling for Large’s immediate termination. The letter said he “subscribes to racial stereotypes,” but did not provide specific examples.

She also told city council that Large should no longer serve as chief because he has failed to live up to the standards that Welch expects of department leaders.

“It is clear that Fire Chief Large holds a disparaging stereotypical belief and that it hampers his ability to effectively lead the city’s fire department,” Matthews said.

It’s unclear how long Large will be kept on paid administrative leave.