Litigation: firefighters and free speech

Issue 8 and Volume 152.

Litigation: firefighters and free speech Citation: Gilbrook v. City of Westminster, 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal, Nos. 96-56306, 96-5675, and 97-55314 (1999). “Four Westminster (CA) Fire Department firefighters (Gilbrook, Garrison, Herr, and Wilson), members of the city`s firefighters` union local, were dismissed as a result of actions they took in the city`s 1992 mayoral election. The union endorsed the mayor`s challenger. The mayor was reelected. Shortly after the election. the city council appointed a committee to review the city`s budget. The committee recommended cuts in fire services, dismissal of firefighters, and curtailment of the firefighters` political activities. “The union protested the budget cuts. The city council voted to reorganize the fire department by laying off six firefighters, removing a truck from service, and increasing paramedic services. One of the council members told one of the four firefighters that the budget cuts were `political retribution` for the firefighters` campaign against…

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