Northeast Tarrant

A former firefighter is accusing a North Texas city of violating Civil Service rules

A former firefighter is suing Haltom City alleging that civil service procedures were not followed when he appealed his termination.

Joe Williamson, who worked for the fire department from 1993 until he was terminated in August of 2018, wants to be reinstated to his position as battalion chief and is also seeking back pay from September 13, 2018 until the present.

Wayne Olson, an attorney representing Haltom City, could not be reached for comment. Rob Ghio, an attorney representing Williamson, said he could not comment without his client’s permission.

According to the lawsuit, in December of 2017, former fire chief Perry Bynum placed Williamson on paid administrative leave after a complaint was filed by a subordinate.

Details of the complaints were not in the lawsuit.

According to the lawsuit, a seven-month-long investigation was conducted, and Williamson received a letter from Bynum on Aug. 1 outlining disciplinary actions. Williamson was given 48 hours to respond to the letter, and he submitted a written response and met with Bynum, according to court documents.

But on Aug. 3, Williamson was terminated and he did not get an explanation of the charges against him, according to the suit.

The suit accuses the city of failing to schedule the Civil Service hearing within 30 days of Williamson appealing his suspension.

Haltom City’s human resources director, Toni Beckett did not contact Williamson’s attorney until September 21 to propose dates in November, but four hours later she rescinded the dates without offering new ones, according to court documents.

When Williamson’s attorney contacted Beckett to ask about the hearing request, she responded that it had been filed but did not provide the request or extension for another week.

According to court documents, it appeared that the documents were “back-dated.”

Because the hearing was never held, Williamson contends that the Civil Service Commission no longer has jurisdiction in his case, and that he should be reinstated with back pay.

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With my guide dog Barbara, I keep tabs on growth, economic development and other issues in Northeast Tarrant cities and other communities near Fort Worth. I’ve been a reporter at the Star-Telegram for 34 years.