The City of Fort Worth will appeal a ruling on appeal made Friday that ordered the city to search and produce records related to the firing of the city’s former Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald.
On Friday, Judge Gena Slaughter denied the city’s appeal which requires the city to search for and produce a voluminous amount of records which include written and digital documents, emails and text messages for 35 search terms for over 7,000 employees, including a review of every document on each employee’s desk, according to a city news release.
Fitzgerald was fired in May because he failed to exercise sound judgment and provide appropriate leadership to the Police Department, according to the Fort Worth news release. Fitzgerald and his attorney say he was fired because he was about expose corruption at city hall.
Fitzgerald’s lawyer argues his termination violated the city charter and that a new hire should be delayed as his client makes his case for reinstatement.
When he was terminated in May, City Manager David Cooke said city leaders had been working on “some issues” with Fitzgerald since he dropped a contentious bid to leave Texas to lead the police department in Baltimore.
“There comes a point in time when I, as city manager, have to examine the totality of a situation and then decide a course of action,” said Cooke. “My responsibility is to make decisions and recommendations in the best interest of the City of Fort Worth.”
Fitzgerald became Fort Worth’s chief of police in October 2015.
Last year, Fitzgerald was picked by the mayor of Baltimore as her choice to be police commissioner there.
Baltimore’s then mayor named Fitzgerald as her nominee to be the city’s police commissioner in November. But he abruptly withdrew from consideration after The Baltimore Sun reported that Fitzgerald’s resume overstated some achievements from his tenure in Fort Worth. The mayor later resigned over other issues.