GREENVILLE, PITT COUNTY - A Greenville firefighter has filed a lawsuit against the City of Greenville alleging the city violated her constitutional rights.
Lisa Davis-Christ filed the lawsuit on Friday, along with the Greenville Professional Firefighters Association, where she is the vice president.
Davis-Christ has been a firefighter with the city for 17 years.
According to the suit, Davis-Christ alleges she was placed on an unjustified probation and was denied a promotion to Lieutenant because of the probation. The suit claims she was placed on probation in April 2013 for allegedly not following the "residency area" guidelines all police and firefighters with the City of Greenville must follow.
Davis-Christ then allegedly appealed the decision, where a personnel review board recommended her probation be rescinded or removed. However, on July 10, 2013, city manager, Barbara Lipscomb issued her decision "rejecting the recommendation of the Review Board and upholding the disciplinary probation of Plaintiff Davis-Christ."
GPFFA is allegedly suing the city for attempting to interfere with firefighters rights to join the association and speak out against government officials. According to the suit, since March 2013, the GPFFA has had "approximately 20 members resign from the Association, as a result of the actions of City Officials to intimidate GPFFA members and encourage them to withdraw their support from the Association."
GPFFA is an "unincorporated association" that represents more than one-third of the firefighters and paramedics employed by the Greenville Fire and Rescue department. The association from its inception in January 2000 has "advocated on behalf of its members on issues of general concern to Greenville firefighters."
Davis-Christ was most recently a part of a communication committee within the Greenville Fire and Rescue department, whose purpose was to take the concerns of firefighters and to create recommendations to solve such concerns. Recent employee surveys given by the committee indicate most firefighters believe morale is "very low" in the department.
Davis-Christ and the association have hired M. Travis Payne and Vanessa K. Lucas with Raleigh's Edelstein & Payne to represent them in the suit.
Davis-Christ is seeking "declaratory and injunctive relief to remove all record of the probationary period from her personnel files, and to promote her to the position of Lieutenant, retroactive to May 18, 2013, the date on which the Interim Chief promoted four other firefighters to the position of Lieutenant." Davis-Christ is also seeking "compensatory damages."
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