SAN ANTONIO (AP) — The case of a fired San Antonio police captain trying to get his job back is highlighting a controversial policy that allows officers to accumulate months, or even years, of paid leave.

Shawn Ury said he was fired as a night commander in March after wanting to use 10 months of paid leave to work off-duty at the United Services Automobile Association. He also alleged the city forced him out to promote a woman to his position, the San Antonio Express-News reported .

Ury is appealing the firing before an arbitrator this week.

The city has denied both allegations, saying Ury was fired after being insubordinate for refusing to quit his outside full-time job at USAA, which was not police-related.

"When you have someone who shirks the orders he or she has been given, it sets the tone for the whole department," Police Chief William McManus testified Wednesday. "It's completely inappropriate."

The policy in the police bargaining contract allows officers to gather up to years of holiday, vacation, bonus and compensatory leave. They're allowed to take it all at once.

Ury had already taken three months of paid leave, then requested another seven off before he planned to retire, said Robert Leonard, Ury's lawyer.

At the time of Ury's firing, McManus tried to limit the amount of leave time officers could continuously take off to 60 days, but the San Antonio Police Officer Association objected to it. The city manager's office grew concerned about the number of officers "burning time," according to Leonard. The city has denied that allegation.

Testimony is expected to continue Thursday. The arbitrator will then have several months to decide Ury's fate at the police department.


Information from: San Antonio Express-News,