Josh Granada, Orlando Firefighter Who Recorded City Commissioner, Ordered Back To Work
A federal arbitrator is ordering the city of Orlando to reinstate firefighter Josh Granada. He was fired nearly two years ago after admitting he recorded audio of City Commissioner Regina Hill during an emergency response.
Hill was unresponsive in 2017 in a hotel room and allegedly became combative when paramedics woke her up. Granada admitted to the recording, and told supervisors he used his cell phone to record audio because he was worried firefighters would be accused of wrongdoing.
The arbitrator ruled Granada should have been suspended, not fired, and ordered that his job be restored, minus 240 hours as a suspension.
“I will be looking into this further to see what rights I still have as a victim, because victims have rights also,” Hill said.
The city of Orlando said it doesn’t yet know how much back pay Granada will get, or when he will come back to work.
In a statement, the city said it is disappointed in the decision. “The public’s trust is paramount to the service that we provide to the citizens and visitors of Orlando and the Orlando Fire Department.”
Granada declined an interview. Ron Glass, the president of the union representing Orlando firefighters, said the union accepts the arbitrator’s decision.
“We are disappointed that the incident, which caused all parties to be cast in a negative light, ever took place,” Glass wrote. “We look forward to Engineer Granada returning to serve the citizens of Orlando, which is a job that he loves and has deeply missed for the past two years.”
Granada was facing two felony charges for recording the city commissioner without her consent, but was placed into a pretrial diversion program. The state attorney will drop all charges if Granada completes the program.
The arbitrator wrote that because Granada wasn’t facing criminal charges, his discipline should have been for violating a department policy forbidding the recording of medical calls without consent from a supervisor.
The arbitrator also wrote that the city’s argument – that there was no legitimate reason to record during a call – wasn’t legitimate because the city’s police department has body cameras to protect officers from accusations of misconduct.
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