A Pine Bluff firefighter who was fired for, among other things, driving a firetruck with a suspended driver’s license will get her job back but has lost the ability to drive department equipment.
Kahdjiah Miller was demoted from engineer to firefighter and was suspended for 10 shifts without pay by a three-member review committee composed of Assistant City Attorney Joe Childers, acting Parks and Recreation Director Trudy Redus and Assistant City Collector Shayree Joshua, who heard Miller’s appeal of her termination Tuesday.
The panel released their decision Thursday. Miller had sought to be reinstated and have an opportunity to be promoted, saying that she had been fired the day before promotional exams were held. Fire and Emergency Services Chief Shauwn Howell fired Miller for conduct unbecoming a member of the department and for violating department policies and state law by having a suspended driver’s license for a number of months and not reporting it to superiors.
Miller also had misdemeanor warrants for violating the Arkansas Hot Check Law, as well as failing to appear in court. During her testimony at the hearing, Miller said female firefighters are treated differently from male firefighters and had complained about sexual harassment as far back as 2010. She later filed a sexual discrimination lawsuit in federal district court, but in 2014 a jury found for the city.
Howell told the review panel that after learning about the suspended driver’s license, he requested and obtained a complete driver’s history on her and learned that in 2015, Miller had received a letter warning that her license could be suspended. She had received citations for driving on a suspended license in 2014, 2o15 and 2016. Her license had also been suspended for six months earlier this year, and the department had received two claims from attorneys seeking damages for accidents with fire trucks that Miller had been driving.
At least one of those accidents occurred while Miller’s license was suspended. Questioned by the panel, Miller said she has taken care of the hot checks and her license is now valid. The final disposition report from the review committee also recommended that the department conduct regular and random checks of employees’ driving status and improve documentation evaluating firefighters’ performance to pro