By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
The city of Rawlins announced it will appeal a court decision that ruled it must rehire a firefighter who was terminated last year for threatening a 911 caller.
In late October, the Carbon County District Court ruled that Rawlins firefighter Stephanie Schofield should be reinstated to her position and that the city should pay all her back wages. Schofield was fired in May 2020 for what officials perceived as threats toward a 911 caller, according to Bigfoot 99 radio station.
However, following the Rawlins City Council’s executive session on Tuesday, the councilpersons decided to appeal this decision to the Wyoming Supreme Court.
According to court records shared by the radio station, Schofield was called for a lift assist at 2:30 a.m., but then made profane remarks to the dispatcher about the caller.
“I’m going to kick her [expletive]. She is a [expletive] pain in the [expletive], if she would just go to bed like any other normal person at a [expletive] normal hour,” Schofield said on the call, before saying she would head to the caller’s home.
The station said the caller is a “severely” disabled woman who requires the use of a wheelchair and has trouble speaking. She frequently calls 911 for lift assists and other medical situations.
Schofield had apparently visited the woman’s home twice earlier that week, finding that neither time was necessary for emergency assistance.
She also apologized to the dispatcher for yelling.
While city officials did not actually believe Schofield would hurt the woman, the comments coupled with her prior disciplinary record prompted them to fire her.
Schofield argued that her due process was violated when she was fired.
In June 2020, former city manager Dustin Ziebold reversed Schofield’s termination and instead placed her on paid administrative suspension. But in November, the Civil Service Commission reversed this decision and terminated Schofield for a second time.
The radio station reported that following her terminations, Schofield was hired by the Carbon County Sheriff’s Office in February. She is also an arson investigator with another organization.
She told Bigfoot 99 that she was disappointed that the city would appeal the decision to the Supreme Court, but was confident that the highest court in the state would rule in her favor.