West Licking Joint Fire District
Attorney: Fulmer to appeal board decision to fire him
Former West Licking Joint Fire District Chief David Fulmer, whose employment was terminated by the fire board on Thursday, Nov. 8, plans to appeal the decision in Licking County Common Pleas Court, according to his attorney, David Comstock.
Comstock said state law dictates that Fulmer can appeal within 10 days to common pleas court.
On Nov. 8, the fire board reviewed the charges against Fulmer and found him guilty of one: misconduct in office and malfeasance related to personal information on non-township personnel kept on his work computer.
In a prepared statement, Comstock said, "Chief Fulmer and I are disappointed in the recent decision of the West Licking Joint Fire District to terminate him based on the allegations he violated the district's Internet, email and online services policy.
"As stated in our closing arguments, R. L. Emmons and Associates failed to provide any evidence that supported or substantiated that Chief Fulmer violated this policy."
Richard Emmons, of R.L. Emmons and Associates of Centerville, was hired by the fire board to investigate Fulmer.
In his closing arguments from the Oct. 19 hearing on the case, Comstock said, "At the (Oct. 19) hearing, Mr. Emmons testified that Chief Fulmer was not being accused of violating a specific district policy (which is directly contrary to the charge), but instead is charged with violating rules of common sense related to the storage or private material on a computer. ... Chief Fulmer cannot be disciplined as the district does not make clear as to what conduct is prohibited or what conduct should be prohibited."
Comstock said prior to the Oct. 19 hearing, Fulmer filed charges against the board alleging that the board did not follow Ohio law by holding some meetings in private and by not producing public records required for his defense. Comstock said that case is pending in Licking County Common Pleas Court.
Fulmer was placed on administrative leave May 29 following a decision reportedly made by the fire board during a May 23 executive session. No public vote was taken at that time.
Board members then met in an emergency session June 4 and voted 5-0 to place Fulmer on administrative leave.
When asked if Fulmer would return to the fire district if his appeal is approved, Comstock said he would.
"I think that Chief Fulmer is a reasonable individual who isn't going to let the board's decision get in the way of doing his job if he's permitted to return," Comstock said.