Mark Miller, the Cambria Fire Department chief abruptly fired April 12, will be back on the job Monday. His dismissal sparked a firestorm of community protest, and Tammy Rudock, the person who fired him, was herself put out of a job April 29.
Miller and Jerry Gruber, who took over as interim general manager of the Cambria Community Services District after Rudock's dismissal, confirmed late Friday that he, Miller and some lawyers had hammered out an agreement to reinstate Miller. The district runs the fire department.
"I’m looking forward to him coming back, looking forward to working with him in his department," Gruber said, "and I'm looking forward to putting this behind us, as Mark is, I'm sure."
"This is what I wanted,” Miller said, "to have my job and my reputation back."
Gruber said that under the agreement, the district will provide the chief with back pay for the time he was off duty, and that time will count toward his retirement calculations and his banked leave time. The district also will pay Miller's legal fees for the appeal he filed about his termination.
Miller will return the un-cashed checks for severance and unused time off he received when Rudock fired him.
It was Gruber’s decision to bring back the fire chief, who serves “at will” under the general manager. However, Gruber said he consulted first with the district's executive committee, board President Muril Clift and Vice President Allan MacKinnon.
Miller said he and wife Michele Miller "want to convey our appreciation for all that the community did" to support him throughout this difficult time. "It was very humbling. We're so grateful."
- Kathe Tanner