UPDATE: A judge has placed a temporary restraining order on the city of Fort Worth for 14 days, which means the city cannot hire a new police chief for 14 days. The hearing will resume on Thursday, August 1.
The city of Fort Worth released a statement saying, “The City will continue to vigorously defend against the claims made by Joel Fitzgerald.”
FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) — Former Fort Worth Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald, through counsel, is asking Judge Slaughter this afternoon to prevent the city from hiring a new permanent chief.
Amid the Texas Workforce Commission’s investigation that found Fitzgerald was terminated without cause, his lawyer, Stephen Kennedy, wants to force the city to hold a hearing on his termination.
Kennedy told CBS 11 News that at Friday’s hearing, he’s asking the judge to prevent the city from hiring a permanent chief for 14 days until a full temporary injunction hearing goes forward.
In an email sent to the city, Kennedy said there were plans to file a temporary restraining order at 8 a.m. Friday morning to force a hearing. He explained that the city charter allows any person terminated in retaliation for whistleblowing to get their job back — and that’s what Fitzgerald says happened here.
If the city were to hire a permanent chief, it would defeat the remedy provided in the government code.
The city of Fort Worth fired Fitzgerald in May because of his leadership abilities, budgeting and criticisms of cybersecurity issues.
Fitzgerald is currently out of town with family and will not be at the hearing.