Boone Fire Dist. Settles

1 decade 10 months 4 days ago Friday, August 17 2007 Aug 17, 2007 Friday, August 17, 2007 9:40:22 PM CDT August 17, 2007 in News

Today the fire district announced it reached a lawsuit settlement with two former employees and three volunteers. The five plaintiffs will split about $112,000.

The lawsuits stem from the terminations of Bruce Piringer and Rob Brown back in 2005. Piringer and Brown have said they were fired because they were critical of the personal relationship between Chief Steve Paulsell and Assistant Chief Sharon Curry.

Piringer filed a federal discrimination lawsuit last November to the tune of two million dollars.He claimed that Curry's relationship with Paulsell afforded her special privileges.

Earlier this month, Brown also filed a lawsuit against the district.

Today, the fire district's attorney said this settlement is about moving on with life.

"The agreement doesn't admit liability and in fact the district and the chief still specifically deny that they did anything wrong," said BCFPD attorney Kent Brown. "But a settlement like this sometimes is the most cost effective way to allow people who have had problems to just put those behind them and move forward into the future."

It has all been one big headache for the fire protection district over the past two years. In the summer of 2005, five workers were terminated.

Here is a timeline of disputes and happenings within the fire district over the last two years:

January 2006 - Board chairman Willis Smith committed suicide.

July 2006 - Police arrested volunteer firefighter Jeremy Brady for sexual assault at a firehouse.

October 2006 - Thousands of dollars went missing from the district.

November 2006 - The first lawsuit was filed against the district.

February 2007 - Assistant Chief Sharon Curry resigned after much controversy for her personal relationship with Chief Steve Paulsell.

August 2007 - A second lawsuit was filed.

And finally today - The fire district announced a settlement between itself and the former workers.

Piringer said he is fine with the settlement total, and that it never was about money, but about principle.

Brady's criminal sexual assault case is underway, with the trial continuing today. We'll bring you the verdict when it's reached.

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