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Fired firefighter fights dismissal
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Forsyth County News
An appeal hearing is scheduled later this month for a Forsyth County firefighter who was fired in July.

According to county disciplinary documents, John Gooch was terminated July 27 for "theft, willfully giving false statements and falsification of official documents."

Gooch's attorney, Robert Reid, will represent him in the civil service hearing Sept. 28.

Reid said the allegations against Gooch "don't add up."

"What they fired him for is not workplace conduct, but conduct alleged by his wife and a landlord," Reid said. "They investigated him based on a weird, vague policy about not paying a debt, and it causing a problem in the workplace."

Reid said the landlord claimed Gooch owed him money, "and in an attempt to coerce payment from [Gooch] alleged he stole a fan from the fire department, which Gooch denies."

According to an internal investigation document, Gooch violated a theft policy having "in his possession item [sic] of the Forsyth County Fire Department that he was not issued and an item of a fellow employee he did not have permission to have."

The document, dated July 10, also contends Gooch "made false statements to his supervisor, other employees and to the investigator during his investigation," and "falsified a court document."

The court document relates to a pending divorce, Reid said.

The civil service board meets monthly to weigh government employee appeals on a case-by-case basis. Employees who have civil service protection can appeal their firing to the panel.