Sunday, December 14, 2008

Thursday = Gorski Decision?

On Thursday, December 18, Judge Maureen McIntyre is to rule on the what might be popularly called "the Gorski case" in Woodstock. It's not really the "Gorski" case, but there is one man who is affected most by this decision - Sgt. Steve Gorski, a 19-year veteran of the Woodstock Police Department.

The case is really the City of Police (its Police Department) vs. the City's Board of Fire and Police Commissioners (the City's 3-man civilian advisory board related to fire and police services). In other words, the City is getting hammered two ways by legal expenses. It's paying for BOTH the Plaintiff's expenses and the Defendants' expenses, except it isn't paying for one employee's defense expenses - yet.

Ten months ago Woodstock's Board of Fire and Police Commissioners dismissed all charges against Sgt. Gorski and directed the police department and the City to pay Sgt. Gorski all of his back wages. Unfortunately, instead of reaching for the checkbook, it sent the City Attorney to court to allege that the BOFPC had not made the right decision and had not made its decision in the right way.

The Board had accepted Gorski's attorney's request for a directed verdict in favor of Gorski, which meant that, in spite of 4 1/2 months of wrangling, statements, testimony, TIME, LEGAL FEES, the Board did not need to hear anything from Gorski before ruling in his favor. In other words, Chief Lowen had not proved his case and could not fire Sgt. Gorski. For more information about this case, search on this site for "Gorski".

A month later the Chief filed for an Administrative Hearing in Circuit Court. And there the matter has dragged on and on. Could the judge have ruled in April? Probably.

Prediction 1: Judge McIntyre will rule against the Chief and uphold the decision of the BOFPC. If she does, how fast with the City pay Gorski?

Prediction 2: If Judge McIntyre rules in favor of the Chief, the case goes back to the BOFPC.

If that happens, a Special Meeting of the BOFPC will have to be called, unless the Board malingers and delays to its March 2009 meeting. What will happen at this meeting? The Chief has already completed his testimony, so he shouldn't be allowed any opportunity to speak further. The Board will hear from Gorski. What will they ask? His name, rank and badge number. Will they need to hear anything else? Not at all.

The Board has already ruled that the Chief didn't make his case. The problem was that the City Attorney apparently believed that the Board did not have the right to grant the request for a "directed verdict." So the Board will need to hear from Gorski.

The Board doesn't need to hear much from Gorski, since it has already decided that the chief did not make his case for firing Gorski. So the Board might ask this question of Sgt. Gorski. "Is there anything you would like to say to further destroy the chief's case?" He'll be polite and professional and answer, "No."

He could tell the 3-man Board what he thinks is the real reason for being in the crosshairs of the chief's sights. So that all is clear here, the only conversation I've had with Steve since becoming aware of his case is to ask about his health. You know, the ol' "How are you?" Steve has good legal representation, and he has done what every good law client should do. Talk only to his attorney.

Thursday, December 18, 2009. 9:00AM, according to the court clerk. Room 201. But I've also heard 8:30AM, so that's when I'll be there.

A request to the Court and to the attorneys and all who will testify. Please speak up so that you can be heard in the courtroom. Too often judges permit testimony in hushed tones that cannot be heard.

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