Mayor, city reach settlement

Tom Wehrhahn
Managing editor

Mayor Tom Stinebaugh has reached a settlement with the city over his federal lawsuit.

City council held first reading of an ordinance authorizing the city to settle the suit. A motion to suspend the rules and pass the ordinance on first reading was defeated.

Stinebaugh will be allowed to be reinstated to, and retire from, the Wapakoneta Fire Department with full benefits. He will also receive a monetary award of $107,382.50 as a compromise of his claims of emotional distress and compensatory damages.

Judge Jack Zouhary approved the settlement and issued the order to pay.

The lawsuit was filed Jan. 19, 2014 in United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Western Division at Toledo. The suit named the city, former Safety-Service Director William Rains and former Wapakoneta Fire Chief Kendall Krites as defendants, claiming they violated his First Amendment rights of the Constitution of the United States. Stinebaugh’s claim was based on conversations he had with city council members in 2012, in which he expressed his opinion against the city’s purchase of a new fire truck. The city maintained that Stinebaugh, a fire department captain at the time, had not followed the appropriate chain of command.

See Tuesday's paper for the full story.