EDMOND — Edmond City Manager Larry Stevens has denied a grievance filed by former Assistant Fire Chief Tim Wheeler, who was fired last month.
Wheeler was notified Tuesday that the city accepted his request to skip the mediation process and go directly to an arbitrator.
Wheeler thinks his firing was unjust and wants his job back with back pay and benefits.
“We are looking forward to a fair hearing,” said Jim Moore, Wheeler's attorney. “He was fired without just cause. It is pretty simple.”
Wheeler was put on paid administrative leave Oct. 7, 2011. He continued to earn a $100,000-a-year salary until Oct. 1, six days short of a year.
Wheeler was terminated for cause, Stevens said. City officials would not discuss the reason for his firing.
“It remains inappropriate for me to comment on personnel matters,” Stevens said Tuesday after agreeing to go directly to arbitration.
Wheeler was suspended after an accusation 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.
An arbitrator will be chosen from a list of seven people. The sides will go back and forth striking names of potential arbitrators off the list until a single person is left, Moore said.
Hearing to be set
The arbitrator will hold an evidentiary hearing in which it will be decided whether to uphold the firing or give Wheeler his job back with back pay and benefits.
Wheeler started to work for Edmond on Nov. 19, 2001. He had prior firefighting and police experience with Chickasha. He has 20 years' firefighting experience, which will go toward his retirement, Moore said.