CLEARWATER - A Federal Arbitrator has ruled the City of Clearwater did not have just cause to fire Paramedic Michael Jones for allegedly not responding to a 911 call. The city is ordered to reinstate Paramedic Jones and reimburse him for lost wages.
In a ruling dated October 16, 2006, the Arbitrator found the city provided no training to rescue crews on their responsibilities when staffing for rescue was changed from Fire Lieutenant and Paramedic to Lead Medic and Paramedic. "The Arbitrator asked what communication was given to the department when the latest change was made, but got no answer. The assumption must be made that had such training been provided, it would have been offered into evidence." Under such circumstances, Paramedic Jones was not expected to go over the head of Lead Medic Trevor Murray, the appointed leader who was more experienced, of higher rank (and more highly paid) and who made the decision leading to the paramedics' firing.
The Arbitrator rejected the city's claim that there is no place for Jones in the fire department without his county certification and urged the city to support Jones in securing his recertification from the Pinellas County Medical Director's Office. Earlier, on September 15, 2006, another Federal Arbitrator in the related case involving Lead Medic Trevor Murray's firing had ruled against the city and ordered the city to reinstate Murray. Consistent with the ruling in Jones' arbitration, the Arbitrator in Murray's arbitration had also instructed the city to support Murray in his request for recertification from the county.
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