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Ex-firefighter denied appeal over termination

Scot Kelsh was terminated after poor performance reviews; he was given six weeks to find a new job but was unable to

FARGO, N.D. — A firefighter’s appeal over his termination was denied by the Fargo Civil Service Commission.

The Grand Forks Herald reported Scot Kelsh said he had PTSD and could no longer work as a firefighter. After looking for a different city job for six weeks, Kelsh was terminated on February 2.

Kelsh’s appeal was denied in a 5-0 vote by the Fargo Civil Service Commission after hearing statements from Kelsh’s lawyer, the city attorney and testimony by city staff.

The commission ruled Kelsh’s termination was not done for improper reasons.

Kelsh started working as a firefighter-EMT for the department in August 2009. He said his training had not prepared him for the realities of working as a first responder.

"They try to tell you, but until you actually experience some of these things. You can't train for it. If it's an incident that involves a child, it's very emotional and traumatic," Kelsh said.

According to a written statement Kelsh presented to the court, several drug overdoses and attempted suicides took a toll on him in August 2015.

In addition to the mental strain, Kelsh wrote that from January 2015 to September 2015 he had to work with a fire captain he did not get along with. After the department received a new captain, Kelsh thought things were going to get back on track.

In September 2015, Battalion Fire Chief Dane Carley told Kelsh he was not meeting his standards and he would have to go to remedial training. Shortly after, he was moved to a temporary office job. He was later told to find a different job in the city or he would be terminated.

The city’s director of human resources, Jill Minette, told the commission the city is not required to create a position for someone in Kelsh’s situation. Kelsh is still deciding if he is going to appeal the decision.

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