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Civil service board sides with firefighter
Employee reinstated after faulty termination
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Forsyth County News
A Forsyth County firefighter who was fired in December for insubordination and not obeying orders returned to work Monday after successfully appealing his termination.

The Forsyth County Civil Services Board determined that while the reason for Brandon Nash’s termination was justified, the department did not follow procedures in the process.

According to a letter from civil service chairman Avery Howell, Nash was fired due to an incident in November in which he “disregarded a direct order from Lt. Shane Lively” to put materials on a fire truck after a smoke-clearing operation at a home.

The letter also cited a “pattern of previous insubordination” and pointed to the “testimony of a number of witnesses that there is a problem beyond your behavior in the fire department.”

But Fire Chief Anthony Chapman testified at the hearing Feb. 12 and 13 that fire department policy states that an investigation prior to termination is protocol.

According to Chapman, there was no investigation. Lively’s report was reviewed by the department, and “based solely on [the report], the decision to terminate your employment was reached.”

In the letter, Howell wrote that “while it is likely that all of the [firefighters involved] would have supported Lt. Lively’s version of what happened, that misses the point of the reason that the fire department has the policy of investigation before discipline: fundamental fairness to all.”

The board recommended Nash be put back on the job without pay from his termination date up until the date of his return. They also recommended he be demoted from Firefighter II to Firefighter I with a reduction in pay.

Forsyth County Fire Capt. Jason Shivers confirmed Tuesday that Nash was demoted and had returned to work.

The board also recommended Nash be placed on probation for six months, which would remove him from the protection of the civil service board.

Fire Chief Danny Bowman said the fire department took “a disciplinary action it felt was appropriate.

“The civil service board respectfully disagreed with those actions,” Bowman said. “All of the recommendations made by the civil service board will be given the highest consideration.”

The three-member board meets monthly to determine employee appeals on a case-by-case basis. Terminated employees who have civil service protection can appeal their firing to the panel.

Nash could not be reached for comment Tuesday. It could not be determined if he was represented by an attorney.

E-mail Frank Reddy at