Texas Firefighter Settles With FD

A Texas firefighter who resigned after being disciplined for taking photos of dead bodies at an emergency scene has reached a settlement with his former employer that will allow him to keep his job. City of Irving agreed to reinstate firefighter William Barstow and pay him $160,000 in order to settle a suit claiming he was misled into resigning. 

Barstow was suspended for 30 days and faced termination for taking photos of dead bodies and sharing them with family and friends. He resigned, but then appealed his “termination” to the City Civil Service Commission. The commission ruled that since Barstow had resigned from his position, he could not appeal. Barstow then filed suit in the state district court.

In the suit Barstow alleged that Fire Chief Mario Molina did not follow civil service procedures in terminating him, and mislead him to believe that signing the resignation letter was the only way he could continue receiving health insurance and retirement benefits. The district court ruled in favor of Barlow and ordered a new civil service hearing. The City then appealed.

With the settlement the city agreed to withdraw the appeal and reinstate firefighter Barstow subject to   a 30-day suspension.  The city did not admit to any wrong doing and will not pay Barstow’s legal expenses.

More on the story.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

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