Everett firefighter paid $224K over discrimination claims

James Nagle says his colleagues doubted his ability to lead given his mental health history.

Jim Nagle

Jim Nagle

EVERETT — The city of Everett has agreed to pay a firefighter $224,217 to resign and to settle his allegations that he was discriminated against for his anxiety and depression.

James Nagle in March filed a damage claim, which is a precursor to a lawsuit. He indicated he would be seeking $1 million.

The settlement forbids him from making public comments about the matter. The Daily Herald obtained a copy of the document, along with the damage claim, through public records requests.

The agreement is dated Oct. 12. Under its terms, Nagle had to resign, and the city marked his departure as a retirement in personnel records.

Nagle, 51, of Mill Creek, had been with the department since 1994. Last year, he was promoted from captain to assistant chief. His annual salary in the new role was $142,920. He was demoted in January back to captain. He says the demotion was part of the discrimination.

In June 2017, Nagle had given a presentation on mental wellness to his colleagues. He was promoted the next month.

Around that time, Nagle alleges that several of the department’s battalion chiefs — those in the rank he skipped between captain and assistant chief — were opposed to him acting as their supervisor. The claim says they doubted his abilities to be an effective manager “given his mental health history,” and that they cited his presentation as evidence.

He says they defamed him and undermined his authority, and that one of them received a reprimand over it. He says he experienced “extensive stress” over the situation, and that it was a significant factor in his separation from his wife.

Court records show that Nagle filed for divorce in early 2017, saying that he and his wife had been living in separate homes since 2014. The same month that he was promoted, he withdrew his petition, telling the court they had reconciled.

This past April, he filed again for a divorce, which is pending.

As part of the settlement, Nagle agreed not to seek further legal action, and the city did not admit wrongdoing. The city also is obligated to provide him with health insurance through 2019, and to pay out unused vacation time.

His personnel file will be updated to say he retired as an assistant chief.

Rikki King: 425-339-3449; rking@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @rikkiking.

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