Union Drops Grievance of Fired Lieutenant

An Ohio firefighter who was terminated in April for bringing an AR15 to work and in an unrelated matter threatening to cut the throat of a union official, has lost his bid to grieve his termination because the union decided not to pursue arbitration of his grievance.

Lt. Charles Adams was terminated on April 8, 2014 from the Athens Fire Department because he allegedly “exhibited disregard for work policy, inappropriate conduct and judgment while in the workplace and lack of respect for fellow co-workers.”

At his disciplinary hearing Adams explained the AR15 was brought in to show a coworker who was considering purchasing one. He also said the firing pin had been removed.

In a separate incident that also factored into his termination, Adams allegedly threatened to cut the throat of his American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) local president, Curt Cline. Cline reportedly informed the city that three lieutenants received $545 too much in retroactive pay. The city responded that the lieutenant’s would have to pay the city back. Adams was one of the affected lieutenants. Adams denied the incident was threatening and said he joking told Cline we wanted to wring his neck over the $545.

Following Adam’s termination, AFSCME processed his grievance through the initial stages. However, the union has decided not to take the case to arbitration.

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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