Posted: Sep 19, 2012 12:00 PM by Victoria Fregoso - Q2 News
Updated: Sep 19, 2012 12:47 PM
BILLINGS - Billings Assistant Fire Chief Frank Odermann is back on the job today. He returns after he was put on paid administrative leave May 31. Odermann was put on leave after Fire Chief Paul Dextras filed a complaint against him.
A due process hearing was held for the Assistant Fire Chief on August 24. He faced several allegations including insubordination and accusing Dextras of being incompetent. Odermann denied all 17 allegations, saying he did not violate any fire department rules and regulations or human resource policies.
During the hearing, Odermann called some of the allegations "absurd" and "ridiculous." In response to the allegation of accusing Dextras of incompetence, Odermann said "I do not want the chief fired. If he was fired, again, I would inherit the daunting tasks that lie ahead for this department."
An investigation was completed by Lynda Brown, an outside investigator hired by the city. In her reports, Brown said some of the sources feared retaliation from Odermann for participating in investigation interviews. Others said they felt they couldn't trust Odermann with private information and would try to avoid him.
After the hearing, Assistant City Administrator Bruce McCandless prepared a written recommendation for City Administrator Tina Volek. According to McCandless, a press release will be issued later this afternoon with more information on the city's decision.
Odermann has been part of the Billings Fire Department for almost two decades. Prior to that he served as a Navy SEAL.