An open letter to Mayor Sager and City Council Members Dillon, Turner, Webster, Thompson, Larson and Ahrens
On February 14, 2008, the Board of Fire and Police Commissioners issued its Findings and Decision in the Sgt. Gorski
matter. It seems to me that this important document should have been ratified at the March Regular Meeting of the BOFPC
. At the least, that document should have been referred to in Minutes. Without official documentation, it has become invisible.
As you must know, Sgt. Gorski
was exonerated by the Board. Chief Lowen's
charges were not sustained. The charge against Sgt. Gorski
was dismissed by the Board. The Board ordered that the City pay Sgt. Gorski
all unpaid back wages.
Apparently, the City has not done this.
What the City should do is pay Sgt. Gorski
all his back wages and return him to duty status. This was the Board's finding. According to the BOFPC
, Sgt. Gorski
remains an employee of the Woodstock Police Department and the City.
The Board issued its Findings and Decision five (5!) months ago. The City flinched in court on last Friday morning by ducking the conference scheduling for which the court date existed. I fully expect the City, through its City Attorney, to claim on August 15 that it has been unable to resolve the matter and then to proceed with conference scheduling.
When Chief Lowen's
case was called, it was not even important enough for him to be there; at least, I didn't see him. I understand that he was not required to be there but, still, the City is spending a lot of money and he should have been there. Rich Flood was not even there but instead sent an employee attorney from his office. An employee of the City Attorney's office would have no authority, other than to stall the case for another month. If they were serious about settling the case, the settlement would have been ready to be presented last Friday.
In the meantime the City's legal fees continue to grow. Is there some reason that the City does not require expediency in resolving legal matters, in order to keep legal fees and costs as low as possible?
More importantly, when the case was called, the BOFPC
was not represented before Judge McIntyre. This was a huge error, unless they have some reason to believe that Chief Lowen's
case is not really against them. The Commissioners are officials of the City of Woodstock; yet they were not there and their legal counsel, if they have counsel, did not approach the bench when the case was called.
It's an extremely shabby way to treat a 19-year employee.
The City has exposed itself to financial peril by not honoring the decision of the three-man civilian Board of Fire and Police Commissioners. Their 3-0 decision in February cannot be over-emphasized. If you haven't read the Findings and Decision, please do. You'll get the full impact of the decision by reading it carefully.
If the Chief eventually wins his case before Judge McIntyre, all that will happen is that the case will go back to the BOFPC
, which has no reason to change its Findings and Decision. To complete any hearing that they might be ordered to reconvene, all they will do is call Sgt. Gorski
, listen to his name, rank and badge number, and make the same decision - that Chief Lowen
has not proven his case. Why would they change that decision?
I would like to believe that you are men and women of honor and integrity. You can demonstrate this by directing Mr. Clifton to pay Sgt. Gorski
all back wages immediately and return him to duty without further delay.
Mr. Clifton, will you please forward this to Commissioners Giordano and Schroeder, whose email addresses I do not have. Thank you.
cc: Commissioner Howell
City Manager Tim Clifton