Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Report: Second Fired DeKalb Fire Fghter Wins Back Job

By Staff

For the AJC

A second DeKalb County firefighter dismissed after a fatal Dunwoody fire has won back his job, WSB-TV is reporting.

A hearing officer ruled for William Jeffrey Greene when he appealed his termination last week, according to reports.

Greene was one of the five firefighters fired when a blaze killed 74-year-old Ann Bartlett, hours after the firemen responded to a 911 call and left because they saw no signs of a fire.

The county intends to appeal the ruling, as it has when fired fire Capt. Tony Motes was reinstated last month, according to reports.


Anonymous said...

He won the appeal, he won't be back on the job..DeKalb will fight that to the bitter end...

Anonymous said...

Our appeals process is a freakin joke!! You have some private attorney who knows nothing about Police or Fire policy and procedure acting as a hearing officer. This is one of the big reasons we have such a discipline problem in this county. When someone gets suspended or fired all they have to do is appeal and over half the time these idiot lawyers will overturn it. Over the last few years I have been called several times to testify (for both sides) as a witness in various hearings. Some got up held, but some that were just blatantly obvious violations got overturned. Everyone knows getting written up means nothing because you can probably get it overturned.

Anonymous said...

The Merit System is fair.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, Anon #2 but I agree with Anon #3. The Merit System process will overturn or reverse an adverse disciplinary action if the appellant (employee) is able to prove that the department/county (respondent) committed an "error in fact". It is an administrative process so a preponderance of the evidence is the weight decided upon. Not guilt or innocence beyond a reasonable doubt. And this finding of an "error in fact" is the only basis for which an adverse disciplinary action may be overturned. The amount or type of punishment can't if the department/county proves their case with a sustained finding by the hearing officer.

Regarding these firefighters who have won their jobs back, I believe the rulings in their favor are indeed just. Listening to the audio recordings, I believe, makes it plainly obvious that these two did all that they could do with the information that was provided to them. They inquired for more and for clarification but got nothing. It appears to me and apparently to these hearing officers that they did their jobs in accordance with established policy at the time. And I would like to believe that personally they deep down in their hearts wanted to find what was vaguely reported on that fateful day because that is what all firefighters live for.

As for the calltaker or dispatcher who took and created the call, I say "Uh oh. Better watch out." The county is appealing these rulings. DeKalb County desperately wants to make someone a "fall guy/gal" to distance itself from liability. IMHO, DeKalb County did indeed fail Ann Bartlett. Very, very sad. Honestly, I think DeKalb County's attempts are futile. The Bartlett family will win or settle their wrongful death lawsuit.

So remember boys and girls, the ONLY basis to win an appeal is to prove the department/county was wrong and therefore not justified to have punished the employee. If an employee did indeed do wrong then the employee will loose. No appeal can be made because an employee believes the punishment is too severe.

Anonymous said...

Folks, during my career at Dekalb Fire I served on the Personnel Review Panel for 8 years. We ruled on cases when we revieved the FACTS nothing more than that. Several cases would have gone the other way if would have judged on emotion.
Everyone reading this has been sent to a call and radio has not provided all the information we needed in the field or a Superior Officer was privy to information that was not relayed to us.
Glad these guys are back on the payroll!