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Published August 24, 2012, 03:15 PM

Lombardi Termination Appeal Granted

A Grand Forks County employee is celebrating today after a termination appeal ended in his favor.

A Grand Forks County employee is celebrating today after he got his job back with a termination appeal.

Assistant Veterans Service Officer Lou Lombardi was suspended then fired earlier this month for alleged disrespectful conduct, unauthorized absence from work, unsatisfactory performance and inefficiency. Lou Lombardi stood before the Grand Forks County Commission after appealing his suspension and dismissal by Lee Finstad. Lombardi says he was let go under unreasonable circumstances. Commissioners heard from both sides at an appeal hearing today.

For the past three weeks Assistant Veterans Service Officer Lou Lombardi has been worrying about whether or not he had a job.

Lombardi: “August 3rd I was served with a suspension and dismissal notice which I thought was unwarranted.”

Lombardi got the notice from Lee Finstad. It said he was disrespectful, had unauthorized absences, unsatisfactory performance and conduct and an incompetency or inefficiency to perform duties.

Lee Finstad, Department Manager: “I gave him specific instructions to do a full developed plan for a combat veteran with PTSD and he just ignored it.”

Lombardi: “It's unwarranted. It's all allegations, I've never been talked to about substandard performance, it's never been documented, my personal file is completely clean of any derogatory information.”

The Grand Forks County Commissioners heard from both parties during the appeal hearing and came to a decision within hours.

John Schmisek, Grand Forks County Commission Chairman: “I mean the reason he's brought into the hearing is because he appealed it to give him a fair hearing and see if there was a reasonable cause for the disciplinary action that was taken and the commission didn't believe there was.”

In the end the commissioners decided Lombardi should have his job back.

Lombardi: “It was a tough decision, there was a lot of information to go through and definitely fortunately for me, it's in my favor.”

Lombardi is on administrative leave right now and will back at his job September 10th.