Former Cocke County fire chief sues over firing

William Smallwood

NEWPORT (WATE) – The former fire chief of Cocke County is suing the county government over his firing earlier this year.

William Smallwood says he wasn’t given due process and that the decision to fire him was political for refusing to support the county mayor’s campaign and refusing to fire certain employees under pressure from the mayor.

Mayor Crystal Ottinger said she couldn’t speak about the lawsuit because she had not yet been served and because it was pending litigation.

In March, Ottinger’s office said Smallwood was fired in the midst of a federal sexual harassment investigation and claims of retaliation by Smallwood.

Smallwood is asking for a judge to give him his job back, with back pay and benefits.

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