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Reinstated firefighter wins another round
Unpaid suspension was too lengthy, board says
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Forsyth County News
It appears Forsyth County’s civil service board may have overstepped its authority last month when it suspended a firefighter for 10 weeks without pay.

The board, in a ruling announced Friday, said the maximum suspension it can hand out is 120 hours, or about three weeks.

Forsyth County Firefighter Brandon Nash was fired in December for insubordination, but successfully appealed his dismissal in a Feb. 12-13 civil service hearing.

The board reversed the termination, determining that the fire department did not follow its own procedures in dismissing Nash.

Nash returned to work March 3, but only after the civil service board recommended he be demoted from Firefighter II to Firefighter I with a reduction in pay.

The board also ruled he would not be paid for the time he had been out of work, about 10 weeks.

Friday’s reversal of that ruling comes after a March 16 hearing, where the board heard arguments from Nash’s lawyer and a county attorney.

In a March 18 letter to Nash, the civil service board “reluctantly agrees” it can not order a suspension without pay for more than 120 hours.

The letter goes on to state that the board has “expressed in prior decisions and reiterates now its dismay over any employee in essence receiving a paid vacation during the pend[ing] of a disciplinary appeal.”

Nash’s lawyer, Rob Reid, said Friday that it’s “only fair that Firefighter Nash be provided back pay because he never should have been terminated without proper procedure to begin with.”

Testimonies during the previous hearings uncovered problems with procedures used prior to Nash’s termination.

According to Battalion Chief Anthony Chapman, there was no investigation, which is protocol in fire department policy.