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Former fire chief files wrongful termination lawsuit

A former fire chief in Michigan has filed a lawsuit, claiming he was wrongfully terminated after he exposed the misuse of grant funds and also requested overtime pay for him and his crew. This wrongful termination and whistleblower lawsuit was filed in court at the end of February. The defendants in this case are Clay Township and several board members.

According to a recent report, while serving as fire chief, the plaintiff noticed fraudulent activity involving SAFER grant funds. Firefighters in this particular part of Michigan require use of a ferry to get to their station. This is supposed to be an operational cost paid for by Clay Township; however, the plaintiff claims that the money to cover this form of transportation was being taken out of the SAFER grant funds, which is meant to cover pay and benefits.

When the plaintiff questioned the ferry costs, he was allegedly told it would be resolved, but months later, the money kept being pulled from the grant funds. He approached the Township about it again in July 2016 and also requested overtime pay for his crew. Shortly after doing so, he was terminated from his position.

At this time, the defendants are not commenting on this case. The plaintiff is seeking lost wages, damages, legal fees and all other compensation that may be available to him. It is unclear if court dates have been set to handle this matter.

Michigan and federal laws protect employees from whistleblower retaliation. If one believes he or she is the victim of wrongful termination due to exposing fraudulent, illegal or inappropriate activities committed by his or her employer, legal recourse may be available. Compensation can be achieved if, with the assistance of legal counsel, the claims can be proved in court.

Source:, "Ex-fire chief files lawsuit against Clay Township", Pamela Binsfeld, March 5, 2017

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