Neb. FF Battling Stress Gets Pension

OMAHA, Neb. --

A former Omaha firefighter still isn't allowed to go onto city property, but the city will still pay for John Gruttemeyer's disability pension.

The city brought in extra security measures on Thursday for a hearing that led the pension board to approve his disability request and ended the investigation surrounding him.

"I'm going for a disability," he said, adding that it was not job-related.

He said he's been battling depression and anxiety disorder.

"If I was to come back, that is the stressor," he said.

The last chapter of Gruttemeyer's professional career began last fall, when the city sent him a letter banning and barring him from city property, after allegations that he threatened to kill the fire chief.

Gruttemeyer denied the allegations, claiming they were retaliatory in nature, but the city opened an investigation.

Nearly nine months later, he told the pension board that he attends weekly counseling sessions.

"To deal with the different issues that I obviously have," he said.

The board also looked over documentation from other medical professionals who'd tested Gruttemeyer.

"I don't believe that you will come back, and I do believe it's a long-term issue with you," said pension board member Jim Sklenar.

The panel voted 4-1 to approve his disability request.

Gruttemeyer had to get permission from the city to even attend the hearing. The city said that since he's no longer an employee, the investigation he's been under has been closed and the banned and barred order against him will likely be lifted.

He will receive a monthly pension of $4,120, the city said.

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