Former fire chief files whistleblower lawsuit over termination

By FireRescue1 Staff

CLAY TOWNSHIP, Mich. — A former fire chief filed a lawsuit after claiming he was wrongfully terminated for pointing out alleged fraudulent activities.

Detroit Free Press reported Daryl DuPage was asked to resign in December before the board voted to fire him the next month. DuPage claims he was fired for pointing out unpaid overtime due to firefighters and suspicious activities involving a federal grant.

In the lawsuit, officials are accused of mishandling or ignoring DuPage's claims. DuPage was involved in securing a SAFER grant to hire seven full-time firefighters.

The suit alleges the township's clerk was seeking to recover ferry fares both before and after DuPage directed crews to cross the island with their personal vehicles.

"We want to get it right," Heidi Sharp, DuPage's lawyer, said. "Instead of investigating and following up, they fired him. He was fired pretty much (when) he was doing a pretty good job one week and then the next week he was having meetings with trustees."

In 2016, some firefighters quit after conflict arose between how and when firefighters should be paid for overtime. The issues continued and DuPage sought a meeting with board members to resolve the issue. After the meeting, he was told to resign.

"He loved his community and he still does, and he's trying to do the right thing," Sharp said.

DuPage is seeking justice for illegal termination, lost wages and benefits and emotional distress.

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