Testimony concluded late yesterday morning at Third Judicial (Lincoln, Union Parishes) District Court in Ruston, for a Civil Bench Trial, Ford v Lincoln Parish Fire Protection District No. 1.
Division A Judge Cynthia Woodard told the attorneys to have their briefs submitted within three weeks. She is expected to rule within a couple of months.
Ford is suing the agency for “comp time,” insurance costs, and penalties. He is demanding almost $500 thousand, plus attorney fees.
Taking the stand on behalf of the defendant fire district was former Chief Neil Kirkland. He testified that for the ten years that he was chief (1993-2003) he never was given “comp time” for any overtime hours he worked. He said that if he had to work late or on weekends, he considered that part of his job duties and wasn’t due paid compensation for it.
However, he said that if he needed to take off, he did so as long as it didn’t conflict with job duties.
Current Fire Chief Kevin Reynolds also testified that he does not record or take “comp time.” Not so, hourly employees, Reynolds said. Their time sheets reflect any extra hours worked, for which they are compensated.
During testimony of district Board of Commissioners Chair Richard Aillet, there was discussion of a change in medical insurance carriers and what retired employees are covered.
At present, Kirkland is the only retiree with paid medical coverage.
In his suit, Ford claims that as a retiree, he is also due paid medical coverage. A set of minutes was introduced into evidence that shows the intent of the board was to provide retirees with coverage, Ford’s attorney said.