Civil Service board reverses officers' discipline
The Municipal Fire and Police Civil Service Board last week reversed Chief Ronald Dies’ disciplining of two police officers after a hearing that could raise a perjury accusation.
Dies’ decision to prohibit Officers Raymond Mott and Stephanie Myers from working a security detail at the Sunrise of Eunice apartment complex – where both reside – was determined to be a violation of the police officers’ rights as civil servants. The chief’s actions also were determined by the board to have placed the property in violation of the city ordinance – which requires that 30-unit apartment complex must provide adequate security personnel on the property.
As a result of the hearing, both officers are permitted to return to their security details at the complex.
The appeals of both officers claimed that Dies’ action was a result of a personal “retaliation” against the officers for listed reasons, according to the minutes of the meeting on Wednesday. Both officers submitted evidence to the board.
Board members questioned Dies about the reassignment of Mott from the detective division of narcotics to the patrol division. Dies claimed that due to patrol shifts that were “too short” on manpower he made the moves. However, Dies’ answer appeared to be arguable as Mott produced a roster showing 26 officers on duty and then another roster showing 28 police officers following Mott’s reassignment.
During testimony, Mott claimed that Chief Dies was a “bald-faced liar”.
According to a Eunice News story dated September 11, 2013, the city council refused to terminate the employment of Mott and to consider that action at the request of Chief Dies following a September 10 meeting of the council.
The civil service board determined that Chief Dies ordered that Mott and Myers be prohibited to work security at the Sunrise apartments following the council’s decision to not terminate Mott. In a September 22nd article, Dies stated that there was no retribution for his decision and that the officers’ work as security was “a conflict of interest”.
The Board appeared to disagree with as documentation dated September 11th and 12th showed that Dies restricted their security work details at the complex with no regard to the city ordinance.
When asked by Municipal Fire and Police Civil Service Board members as to why he ceased the security details of the officers, Dies said that he had received “numerous complaints” from residents of the complex. However, when asked to produce evidence or written complaints against the officers, Dies offered no evidence.
The only documented evidence of the “numerous” complaints was in the form of one written complaint against Officer Myers. The grievance came from an individual that Myers had arrested for driving under suspension some two or three days prior to the complaint.
Dies then admitted before the board that the complaint against Myers was “unfounded”.
Legally speaking, Dies produced nearly no case to refute officers Mott and Myers claims.
According to anonymous witnesses present at the meeting, Chief Dies was allegedly caught by the Municipal Fire and Police Civil Service Board in “several lies” at Wednesday’s meeting.
It is unknown whether the Municipal Fire and Police Civil Service Board will submit their findings to a judge in regards to any possible civil action to be imposed on Dies for giving false testimony.
The news that Mott and Myers could return to working security details at the Sunrise apartments came as welcome news, but not surprising news, to Marc Savor–who is the property manager of the apartment complex– who first presented evidence of Dies’ action in September of 2013 that left his property in violation of the city ordinance. Savor said that the property had not incurred any fines or was cited for being non-compliant.
“I think it’s really great that Mott and Myers get to return, I knew they would because it was unlawful anyway,” said Savor via phone interview from his home in Fort Wayne, Ind.
“I don’t know what to say about Chief Dies. I try to do everything within the law, and I know a lot of the laws and ordinances, and it didn’t seem like Dies knew any of them. A lot of the times, I took ordinances in to him for him to read and he would say that he would have to check on them because he didn’t know what they were. He’d have to check with his officers to find out what the ordinances were.”
Savor said that he knew that Dies’ decision was based on retribution for “making him look bad”. Savor said in a September 2013 article that he felt that Dies was “punishing” his business by ordering Mott and Myers to suspend their security details at the complex.