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Former firefighter sues to get job back

LORAIN — Former firefighter Joe Colon, who said he was pressured into quitting last year, continues to try to get his job back.

A lawsuit was filed Monday in Lorain County Court by the International Association of Firefighters Local 267 on Colon’s behalf. The suit, written by attorney Kenneth Stumphauzer, contends the arbitrator in arbitration hearings on Jan. 10 and 11 exceeded his authority in violation of the union’s contract with Lorain.

“The arbitrator’s decision was so imperfectly exercised and such a blatant abuse of arbitrable authority and power such as opining on matters normally within the providence of a judge or jury, that a mutual, final and definitive award upon the subject was not made,” Stumphauzer wrote.

Colon, a registered nurse, contends he quit due to fear of being convicted of theft in office over allegations he took a sick day as a firefighter to work on Dec. 23, 2010, at the Cleveland Clinic. Colon, who joined the Fire Department in 1996, worried about losing his nursing license if convicted, according to an affidavit. Colon said he was at the clinic that day for his daughter’s tonsillectomy.

Colon also was questioned last year by then Human Resources/Risk Management Director Geoff Smith about whether he abused two sick days in April. Colon said he used an April 9 sick day for “travel issues” and to attend a funeral on an April 13 sick day, according to the affidavit. On April 14, Colon took part in Tough Mudder, a combination run and obstacle course in South Amherst with about 23 other Lorain firefighters and police.

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