Fired AZ parks ranger battling cancer to get job back, following public outcry

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PEORIA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

The longtime Arizona parks ranger fired suddenly last week will reportedly be offered her job back.

Less than a day after AZFamily reported on the questionable firing of Sue Hartin, who is battling eye cancer and is less than a year from retirement, state officials have reconsidered their decision.

[RELATED: AZ parks ranger battling cancer fired after 19 years on the job]

 AZ Parks and Trails director Sue Black drove to the west Valley Friday to meet with Hartin and discuss her situation.

Hours later, Black reportedly sent an email to azcentral.com, confirming the decision to re-hire Hartin.

"This decision was made with the facts available at the time," Black wrote. "Since then, additional information has become available that is personal in nature. After further review, I have decided to offer reinstatement to Sue Hartin." 

Hartin said that she could not discuss any details of her case until Monday, but was thrilled at the thought of going back to work.

Ranger Hartin said Thursday that she felt blindsided last week, when she was fired after 19-years of service, and less than a year from retirement and full benefits.

"I don't know if they've done anything wrong," said Hartin. "But they definitely broke my heart and that's going to stay with me forever."

Hartin was recently granted Family Medical Leave Act Job protection, but that didn't stop her termination.

Phoenix employment attorney Stephanie Leach said that Hartin could have a case against the state for wrongful termination.

"It definitely raises some red flags for me,"said Leach. "They have to establish that her potential class, her health, age and FMLA status had nothing to do with the decision to terminate her, and that's going to be their legitimate business justification."

Hartin is scheduled for surgery in August and takes care of her 89-year-old mother.

She had wondered how she would pay for her medical bills, with her health insurance set to expire and not being able to receive a full pension.

Hartin said that she didn't believe her firing as justified, but is excited to go back to work doing what she loves.

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Jason Barry
Jason Barry has been reporting in the Valley since 1997.

Click to learn more about Jason.

Jason Barry

Jason Barry has been reporting in the Valley since 1997.

He is a nine-time Rocky Mountain Emmy Award winner who is best known for his weekly Dirty Dining reports, which highlight local restaurants with major health code violations.

Jason was born in Los Angeles and graduated from the University of Miami.

An avid sports fan, Jason follows the Diamondbacks, Cardinals and Suns with his wife, Karen, and son, Joshua.

His favorite stories to cover are the station’s Pay it Forward segments, which reward members of the community with $500 for going ‘above and beyond’ the call of duty to help others.

Jason, started his career at WBTW-TV in Florence, SC before moving to WALA-TV in Mobile, AL, was named the Associated Press Reporter of the Year in 2002.

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