EDMOND — An arbitration hearing over an employment dispute between the city of Edmond and a former fire official has ended, and each side has until Aug. 5 to submit post-hearing briefs before a final decision is handed down.
The arbitration hearing for former Assistant Fire Chief Tim Wheeler was held two days in April and one day this week. The hearing was not open to the public.
Jim Moore, Wheeler's attorney, called the hearing lengthy with a large amount of paperwork.
“I will reserve comment on the quality of it,” Moore said. “I don't think the evidence supported termination.”
Eight witnesses for the city and two for Wheeler testified in secret over the three days.
Once the post-hearing briefs are completed, the arbitrator will hand down a decision within 60 days.
City officials did not comment Friday.
“We are waiting for the arbitrator's ruling, and it would be inappropriate to make a comment concerning a process that has not been completed,” said City Manager Larry Stevens.
Wheeler was put on paid administrative leave Oct. 7, 2011. He continued to earn a salary of more than $100,000 a year until Oct. 1 — six days short of a year.
Wheeler was terminated for cause, Stevens said. City officials claim it is a personnel matter and will not discuss the reason for his firing.
The former city employee thinks his firing was unjust and wants to be reinstated with back pay and benefits.
Accusation is made
Wheeler was suspended after an accusation was made that he pointed a toy gun at another firefighter in May 2011, The Oklahoman was told.
The criminal investigation was completed by the end of October 2011, Moore said.
No criminal charges were ever filed against Wheeler.
Wheeler started to work for Edmond on Nov. 19, 2001. He had prior firefighting and police experience with the city of Chickasha.
Wheeler has 20 years firefighting experience, which will go toward his retirement, Moore said.