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Published: Saturday, 6/29/2002

Lima ordered to rehire assistant fire chief

LIMA, Ohio — The city's civil service board voted 2-1 yesterday to order the city to rehire an assistant fire chief who was fired after admitting to using illegal drugs.

Anthony DePalma was fired on May 7 when the city said he violated a “last-chance agreement” he entered into with the city in October after admitting himself into a drug rehabilitation program. The board said he was denied his right to due process at that time because he was not notified of the disciplinary proceeding or given the chance to be represented at that proceeding.

In its ruling, the board said the city must pay for all lost time since Mr. DePalma's termination minus a 14-day suspension. While the city has the right to appeal the board's decision, Mayor David Berger made no reference to a possible appeal.

“This is the decision of the civil service board,” the mayor said. “I will be consulting with our law director to make sure we understand the ruling and the alternatives available to the city.”

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