Former Assistant Fire Chief of Edmond in Arbitration over Dispute with the City
Wednesday, April, 10, 2013
A former Edmond, Oklahoma fire official will have to wait until May 21 to know if he will get his job back after being placed on administrative leave and then finally terminated from employment with the city. The arbitration proceedings occurring between the city and former Assistant Fire Chief, Tim Wheeler, will end on that date, when a neutral, third-party arbitrator will decide the career fate of the terminated Edmond fire official.
The dispute between the city of Edmond and Wheeler began in October 2011, when the then-Assistant Fire Chief was forced to take a paid administrative leave after being accused of pointing a pistol at another city employee. Wheeler stated that the allegations were false, and according to his attorney, James Moore, “his termination was totally unjust.” However, the accuser maintains that Wheeler pulled the pistol out of his back pocket and then pointed it at him.
The city finally terminated Wheeler’s employment on October 1, 2012, after Wheeler had received $106,375.82 in pay while on administrative leave. However, immediately following the termination of his employment, Wheeler filed a grievance with the city of Edmond seeking further compensation for financial loss incurred during his leave and subsequent termination. The city refused the request, opting instead for arbitration services provided by the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.
The arbitration hearing was a closed hearing involving two full days of testimony that began last week. An additional hearing will be held on May 21, at which point Wheeler will know if his job has been reinstated per his request. It was agreed that both parties will split the cost of arbitration, which will be similar to a trial in front of a judge and jury. Both parties will present their opening and closing statements and will be able to present witnesses.