A Fort Worth police officer who was fired in an overtime scandal in 2010 must be hired back and paid for the nearly seven years he did not work, an arbitrator ruled Monday.
Officer James Dunn was among eight traffic officers fired for allegedly altering traffic tickets to steal overtime money that was part of a state grant.
Dunn could be awarded up to $400,000 in back pay, which doesn’t include seven years of retirement contributions and sick and vacation time, said his attorney Terry Daffron.
Daffron said it is probably one of the largest such awards in Fort Worth police history.
Dunn is the only one of those fired to win his job back, she said.
“Officer Dunn is very excited to finally be vindicated after living the last six-and-a-half years in a nightmare,” she wrote in an email. “Officer Dunn is looking forward to wearing the FWPD uniform again.”
The hearing examiner, Norman Bennett, said Dunn “engaged in negligent misconduct” but ruled his discipline should be a 14-day suspension, not termination.
Bennett blamed supervisors for failing to notice that Dunn had written traffic tickets in 15-minute intervals over a six-year period.
“There was a supervisory failure to instruct (Dunn) regarding worksheets and times on tickets,” Bennett wrote.