• December 22, 2014

Fired mechanic drops whistleblower lawsuit against city

Lawyer says John Acker could no longer afford the cost of litigation

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Posted: Tuesday, June 18, 2013 4:30 am

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Gonzales also filed a Whistleblower lawsuit against the city in March but she has not withdrawn her suit.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.

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3 comments:

  • OldWoman posted at 9:05 am on Wed, Jun 19, 2013.

    OldWoman Posts: 28

    Right now there are, what? 7or 8 lawsuit from fired employees? And all this in the second half of last year and beyond? What do they all have in common, that they had to go? And then there are those who have not had the money to sue, and wanted it all to go away! These are in the majority!

     
  • Bubba posted at 11:30 am on Tue, Jun 18, 2013.

    Bubba Posts: 758

    According to a recent press release, Ms. Shine makes $96,000 a year to make these statements.

     
  • Viktor posted at 10:23 am on Tue, Jun 18, 2013.

    Viktor Posts: 317

    Focus on providing the best services to citizens of Killeen? Maybe a good start would be to have personnel policies & follow them instead of the current work culture. How many complaints, lawsuits etc. have been generated because of poor adherence to personnel policies? It's not exactly providing the best services when $750K had to be paid to former city manager. Even his evaluations weren't done in a timely manner & those on record didn't show he was performing below standards. Apparently the city learned nothing because here we are again with Gonzales. Sheesh!