Judge Reinstates Steve LeClair As Omaha Firefighter, Denying City’s Appeal Of Arbitrator’s Ruling

The embattled president of the Omaha firefighter union will get his job back, a judge ruled, denying the City of Omaha’s appeal of an arbitrator’s decision.

Steve LeClair, a 17-year Fire Department veteran, was fired by Chief Dan Olsen after he was charged with two misdemeanors relating to an incident at an Omaha bar in November 2018. Authorities said he struck and made a racist remark toward the woman. 

Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert issued a statement saying, “While we have not reviewed the entire order yet, we are disappointed but look forward to further review by the higher courts. We remain confident in the city’s position.”

LeClair had pleaded no contest to the misdemeanors and was sentenced to probation.

A third-party arbitrator ruled in November that LeClair should get his job back, with back pay, and that the city overstepped in firing LeClair.

The city appealed the arbitrator’s decision, saying the arbitrator was wrong and that Olsen’s decision to fire was “courageous” because LeClair brought disgrace to the department. 

In a 26-page ruling, Douglas County District Judge Leigh Ann Retelsdorf denied all of the city’s arguments for appeal.

The Professional Fire Fighters Association of Omaha said in a statement Tuesday that Retelsdorf’s ruling should end the appeal process by Stothert and Olsen.

“This misguided attempt to terminate Steve LeClair has already wasted the citizens’ tax money,” the union said. “During a time when every dollar is required to secure the health and safety of Omaha, there should be no more public money squandered to pursue further appeals.”

From www.omaha.com