Cobb County

Battalion chief sues Cobb County after not being paid overtime for 3 years, lawsuit says

COBB COUNTY, Ga. — A battalion fire chief has filed a civil lawsuit against Cobb County. John Graham says he has not been compensated for three years’ worth of overtime he’s worked.

Channel 2 Cobb County Bureau Chief Michele Newell obtained a copy of the lawsuit that was filed on Sept. 15th and learned the county is expected to be served with it later this week.

The complaint alleges the county failed to provide the battalion chief overtime compensation beginning in 2017 up until now.

According to John Graham’s work history on LinkedIn, he’s been with the county fire department for nearly 30 years. His role as battalion chief, a salary-based position, is fairly recent.

“Essentially what we are alleging is that he is not an exempt employee, and he should be paid for overtime he works and that time should be recorded,” attorney Camille Mashman said.


“It’s concerning that if somebody is having this position as a battalion chief and not being paid for the work that they put in. That’s so crucial to lives,” said Allison Duarte, who lives in Cobb County.

Mashman told Newell that the suit is part of a much larger issue regarding fire chiefs in general and the overtime they should be compensated for.

“There’s a growing body of case law essentially showing that fire chiefs are entitled to overtime compensation, and we believe the evidence will show is our client’s primary duty is responding to and fighting fires, so that would fall within that,” Mashman said.

Graham is still employed with the Cobb County Fire Department.

Cobb County officials said because they haven’t been served with the lawsuit yet, they don’t have a comment on this story.


Michele Newell

Michele Newell, WSB-TV

Michele Newell has been part of the WSB-TV family since November 2021. Before moving to Atlanta, Michele worked at TV news stations in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Columbus, Ohio and Steubenville, Ohio.

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