Fired Killeen city mechanic John Acker voluntarily withdrew his lawsuit against the city Monday, which he filed in March under the Texas Whistleblower Act.
A letter from Acker’s attorney, Bill Aleshire, said that Acker could no longer afford the costs of the litigation against the city.
City officials fired Acker in December after a two-month investigation of Killeen’s Fleet Services Division revealed widespread theft and mismanagement of the city motor pool.
In the lawsuit, Acker was seeking to get his city job back, as well as compensatory damages and attorney fees.
Three other fleet services employees and former City Finance Director Barbara Gonzales also lost their jobs during the scandal.
Gonzales also filed a Whistleblower lawsuit against the city in March but she has not withdrawn her suit.
A Killeen employee review board recommended that City Manager Glenn Morrison reinstate Acker in April based on findings that Acker was treated disproportionately.
Morrison rejected the board’s recommendation the next day.
“Mr. Acker just wanted his job back,” the letter from Aleshire stated. “He made an offer to the city to drop his lawsuit, give up all claims for back pay and attorney fees, if they would just let him return to work.”
At the personnel hearing, Acker admitted to stealing from the city barn during his 18 years at the city.
Aleshire said Acker, who started his own mechanic shop in Killeen, has paid all the legal fees required by the Austin-based Riggs Aleshire & Ray Law firm.
“We believe in his case, but we can’t offer to represent him for free,” Aleshire said.
“(Withdrawing the lawsuit) will save him in attorney’s fees and give him more time to run his business.”
Acker cannot refile his lawsuit now that he has filed a notice of nonsuit, Aleshire said.
Killeen spokeswoman Hilary Shine said the city had not yet received official notification of Acker’s withdrawal.
“We welcome the resolution of this matter so that we may continue to focus on our mission to provide the absolute best services to the residents of Killeen,” Shine said.
Contact Brandon Janes at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7552