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Friday, September 10, 2021

Attorney representing former Ocala Fire Chief cites termination letter as ‘abrupt, lacking truth’

An attorney representing the former Ocala Fire Chief says the city’s termination letter came abruptly and lacked “truth.” 

Jeremiah Greathouse made the remarks at the end of general public comment during the Ocala City Council meeting on Tuesday, July 20.

Greathouse spoke on behalf of Shane Alexander, who he says was dismissed through a “vague” termination letter that came  “abruptly, after 27 years, without much explanation.” 

“It’s very concerning, the lack of truth that’s placed in this letter. The reasoning that’s placed in this letter isn’t substantiated,” said Greathouse, who represents the law firm of Donnelly & Gross. “There isn’t an announced investigation, this was abrupt.”

Greathouse suggested the termination could lend itself to divisiveness, something multiple residents cited in public comments just minutes before. 

“I’d hate for this community or any other, to start feeling this divide, or this rift,” said Greathouse. 

Greathouse told council members that they had three positions to “oversee,” including the City Manager, and that they were elected for this very reason: To make oversight decisions of great importance. 

He concluded by saying that questioning the termination isn’t “an attack on a particular person, or a particular position,” but rather, a chance to obtain an explanation. 

“I think eventually, we’ll get there,” Greathouse concluded.

Based in Gainesville, the law offices of Donnelly & Gross are a collection of employment and labor attorneys that take cases on behalf of businesses, public servant associations, and professionals. 

Alexander was fired on June 25 in a termination letter issued by Assistant City Manager Ken Whitehead. 

Ocala City Council members said during their July 6 meeting that none of them were aware of the planned termination or reasons behind it until after the chief was terminated.

During Tuesday’s meeting, Ocala City Council President Justin Grabelle reiterated his belief that the easiest course of action was to hire Alexander back to his old position.