Former Parish Fire Chief Loses Suit for Comp Pay, Benefits

Former Lincoln Parish Fire District No. 1 Fire Chief Dennis Ford is not entitled to comp time pay and paid medical benefits, a Third Judicial (Lincoln, Union Parishes) District Court judge has ruled.

Wrote Division A Judge Cynthia Woodard in a ruling filed 1/13/27:

As a result, the Court finds that the Plaintiff failed to meet his burden of proof on his claims for compensatory time, post-retirement health insurance coverage, and his claim under the Louisiana Wage Payment Act. Therefore, the Court denies all claims asserted by the Plaintiff against the Defendant for the aforesaid reasons.

Woodard noted that “Mr. Ford was an executive, administrative, or professional employee, who is exempt from the overtime requirements of the FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act) or payment of any comp time.”

Also, “…the Court further notes that there were no writings memorializing any such agreement as to the comp time. Any conversations Mr. Ford had with Mr. Thompson (former Board Chair Tom Thompson) about comp time do not appear to have been considered or approved by the Board.”

Regarding the medical benefits, Woodard wrote, “Mr. Ford was aware that the retiree class was a closed class before the policy was accepted, well before his retirement. He was also aware that no other retiree since Mr. Kirkland has been allowed to remain on the insurance.”

See here the complete Reasons for Ruling.

Ford had originally sued in September, 2014 and had demanded nearly half a million dollars in comp time.

See here the original lawsuit.

The bench trial (as opposed to a jury trial) was held last October at the Lincoln Parish Court House in Ruston.

Ford’s attorney was Daniel Street. Representing the district was Shreveport Attorney Michael Lowe.

9 Responses to “Former Parish Fire Chief Loses Suit for Comp Pay, Benefits”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Looks like all of Ford’s scheming came to naught. He will get to spend a huge chunk of his retirement on medical insurance since e claimed disability. Karma is giving him some of what he deserves.

  2. seiu Says:

    Ford was a smart a-s who thought he was smarter than everyone else.

  3. Mr. E Says:

    Let this be a warning to everyone in Lincoln Parish that this is precisely the type of shenanigans you get when you go to the polls to create little government time bombs like the Lincoln Parish Fire Districts! Voters frightened by a sham scare tactic campaign rushed to the polls to create this mess never stopping to realize that rural fires are limited to the house on fire with little danger of spreading to other structures, unlike the situation in an urban environment. Promises to restrict this to a volunteer-only force were subverted by Ford and Thompson in pursuit of their little fiefdom while voters weren’t paying attention. Their scheme only came to light when they threatened to expand the fire tax to every structure on a property and thus drive rural citizens’ tax bills through the roof. Their scheme thwarted, Ford chose to execute his exit plan to cash in on disability set up for life.

    We’re stuck with this useless rural fire protection racket for another ten years since voters reauthorized the bonds last year, but they would do well to vote this little monstrosity out of existence the next chance they get because they’ve already proved they don’t have the ability to keep their attention focused on it to prevent another rogue from some nefarious scheme that will increase taxes for no good reason.

    • Anonymous Says:

      Me. E, if you had any idea what the fire department actually does then people might listen to you. I’m sure any of the members of the department would be glad to sit down and discuss it with you. I hope you never have an incident where they are needed to help you or anyone in your family. But if you or they do, I bet you would have a different point of view.

      • Mr. E Says:

        Spoken like one of the self-serving paid firefighters that formerly soaked up taxpayer money on the Lincoln Parish Fire District staff! Every criticism of that sorry entity garners the same response from you guys – “Oh, if you only understood what a valuable service we provide, and I hope you never need our services.” What a crock of steaming Bullschitt!

        I understand all too well that fire departments are necessary in urban environments to prevent fires from spreading to other structures densely packed together. Rural areas such as those found in Lincoln Parish don’t require fire departments because there is little danger of fire spreading to other structures.

        You guys ran the volunteers off to create the perception that you couldn’t attract volunteers, then agitated for a paid force to be funded by breaking the original agreement of limiting the fire tax to dwellings to apply it to every structure on a property. We had to battle the entrenched interests like Tom Thompson to retake the Fire Board and shut that mess down. Luckily, we discovered that Thompson had never been reappointed to the Fire Board by the Town of Vienna and he was unceremoniously dumped. All the problems with the volunteers suddenly disappeared once we retook control of the board and ran Ford and his cronies off!

        So, don’t sit there trying to imply that I don’t know what’s going on with the Fire Board or try to insinuate that I don’t know anything about fire departments because I was there when the power struggle was happening!

  4. Anonymous Says:

    Where’s Pro-Fire?

  5. Anonymous Says:

    Mr. E Get off your ass and volunteer for a year and find out what the Fire District is all about instead of bitching about it.

    • Cowboy Says:

      Sounds to me like he’s already got a pretty good grasp of the situation. I don’t see where volunteering is going to change his points about rural fire protection being unnecessary or the fact that Ford and Thompson ran off the volunteers. He’s not the only one that was around when the Police Jury had to take the Fire Board back from Thompson and his cronies. There are a lot of us who remember it the same way. You don’t have to be in the trenches to find fraud and waste.

  6. On the Outside Looking In Says:

    Let me just say up front that I am not and have never been a resident of Lincoln Parish. I have, however, lived in two different “rural parishes”, have seen first hand how a volunteer fire department in a rural setting can save property and yes, I at one time was a volunteer firefighter. Numerous times, a volunteer fire department has responded to an out of control brush fire that was endangering a residence and prevented that residence from been damaged or destroyed. So while Cowboy and Mr. E are correct in that a rural house fire might not spread to another structure there is a need for rural fire departments.

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