Texas Workforce Commission: Fired FWPD Chief Did Nothing Wrong

Alan Scaia
July 16, 2019 - 7:01 am
Fort Worth Police Chief Fitzgerald

FORT WORTH (1080 KRLD) - The Texas Workforce Commission has ruled the former Fort Worth police chief should receive unemployment benefits. The decision Monday night reversed an earlier ruling.

Joel Fitzgerald was fired in May. In a memo, Assistant City Manager Jay Chapa said, "Because of your increasing lack of good judgment as the Police Chief of the City of Fort Worth, we have lost confidence that you can be a trusted member of the City's Management team."

The memo cited a confrontation between Fitzgerald and the leader of the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas at an event in Washington D.C. He was removed from CLEAT after the union says it learned he had never joined the Fort Worth Police Officers Association.

Fitzgerald has since filed a whistle blower lawsuit​, claiming he was terminated for reporting Fort Worth was not in compliance with the federal Criminal Justice Information System, an FBI program designed to provide information among different law enforcement departments in a timely manner.

In June, TWC rejected his request for unemployment benefits citing Fitzgerald's termination for work-related misconduct. Fitzgerald appealed, and TWC ruled Monday night that he should receive full benefits.

“The TWC’s finding that Dr. Fitzgerald did nothing wrong at the D.C. conference is going to make the City’s justification of terminating Dr. Fitzgerald rather difficult to justify to a Dallas jury,” Fitzgerald's lawyer, Stephen Kennedy wrote in a statement.

Fitzgerald is appealing his termination.