LEXINGTON, Ky. - The saga surrounding the employment status of embattled Lexington fire Chief Robert Hendricks is over. More than a year after Hendricks was asked by the mayor to step down from his post, the city announced today that he will transfer to another position as part of a settlement agreement.
“Starting Tuesday he will be a firefighter/paramedic with our Division of Fire and Emergency Services. He will no longer be chief, he will be a firefighter/paramedic,” says Susan Straub, a spokeswoman for Mayor Jim Gray.
In late February 2011, Gray called for Hendricks to resign amid ongoing problems with employee morale and the department’s budget. Hendricks refused to step down from his post, which provided him an annual salary of $148,379. He was denied an occupational disability retirement by the Lexington Police and Fire Pension Board and then filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Details of the disability have not been released, but Hendricks’ attorney has described it as a psychological issue.
According to terms of the settlement, the former chief will not be required to undergo a medical or psychological exam but he will have to become recertified as a paramedic. Hendricks’ new position has a base salary of $36,312.90.
While Hendricks was on administrative leave, Keith Jackson has served as interim fire Chief.
“The mayor has complimented Chief Jackson for the strong managerial skills he has exhibited and for his strong leadership, even though he’s been in an awkward situation,” says Straub.
Mayor Gray plans to appoint a permanent fire chief soon.