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Judge rules against city, reinstates OFD Union head Steve LeClair

Posted at 11:27 AM, Mar 31, 2020

OMAHA, NE — A judge has ruled against the City of Omaha after the president of the Omaha Firefighters Union was fired for physically assaulting a woman at a bar in 2018.

Steve LeClair was fired from the Omaha Fire Department last February, following an internal investigation after a woman accused him of harassing her at a bar and hitting her when she rejected his sexual advances. LeClair was also accused of making racist remarks during the interaction.

LeClair later pleaded no contestto assault and battery and disorderly conduct in the case, and was given 6 months probation.

LeClair was later reinstated when an arbitrator ruled that he had been unfairly fired for the charges. The City of Omaha filed a petition to vacate this judgment, with Mayor Jean Stothert saying that his reinstatement would be unjust to both the victim and taxpayers.

Last Friday, District Court Judge Leigh Ann Retelsdorf ruled that the arbitrator decision be upheld, and that LeClair be reinstated with full back pay except for five 24-hour shifts that would constitute disciplinary action for the assault.

In a press release on Tuesday, the Omaha Firefighters Union asked that both the City of Omaha and the mayor not seek any more appeals on the matter.

"This misguided attempt to terminate Steve LeClair has already wasted the citizens tax money," the firefighter union said in a press release Tuesday."During a time when every dollar is required to secure the health and safety of Omaha, there should be no more public money squandered to pursue further appeals."

On Twitter, Mayor Stothert said she was disappointed with the decision and would likely not be dropping the case.

"While we have not reviewed the entire order yet, we are disappointed but look forward to further review by the higher courts," Stothert said. "We remain confident in the City's position."