MUNROE FALLS — A police sergeant who has been on paid administrative leave for 13 weeks has now filed an unfair labor practice charge against the city.
Sgt. Bob Post submitted the complaint against the city of Munroe Falls to the State Employment Relations Board (SERB) on Thursday.
In the filing, Post accuses his employer of violating five different components of unfair labor practices.
Post’s complaint is being made in response to being placed on paid administrative leave on Dec. 8, 2017, following an apparent dispute with Munroe Falls Mayor James Armstrong in the city hall parking lot several days earlier.
Police Chief Jerry Hughes declined to comment. Munroe Falls Law Director Tom Kostoff did not immediately return calls seeking comment. Armstrong was not immediately available for comment.
In his filing, Post wrote that during contract negotiations between the city and the Ohio Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, he was quoted by the Stow Sentry as stating he opposed a contract proposal to promote part-time sergeants.
Post said the mayor confronted him while he was having lunch in the city hall parking lot on Dec. 3, 2017.
"His tone, statements and demeanor were very threatening," wrote Post in his filing with SERB. "I believe he approached my vehicle in anger from my comments in the newspaper."
Post claims the police chief did not give him a copy of a complaint Armstrong later made against him when the chief ordered him to appear at a pre-disciplinary conference. Under the union contract, the chief was required to provide a copy of the complaint, Post alleged.
Post was placed on paid administrative leave the next day, on Dec, 8, 2017, pending the outcome of an investigation that would be conducted by the Summit County Sheriff’s Office.
The Sheriff’s Office probe in early January concluded that Post did not violate any police department rules and regulations in the Dec. 3 incident. Post wrote in his complaint that he was "cleared of all allegations."
Post also alleged the city did not show appropriate cause when it ordered him on Jan. 19 to undergo a psychiatric evaluation before he could return to work.
"Given the findings from the Sheriff’s Office, the city of Munroe Falls has failed to show cause for the necessity of such an evaluation," he stated.
Post wrote that the city calling for "an unwarranted examination" is "humiliating" and "creates the potential for an unhealthy and hostile work environment."
"The city of Munroe Falls, by the actions of Chief Hughes, publicly claiming ‘serious concerns’ existed has damaged my reputation ..." wrote Post. "Mayor Armstrong wrongfully claimed I had done something wrong and may need psychiatric help. The impact of Mayor Armstrong’s statement further damages my professional reputation and stature within the Munroe Falls Police Department and the community.
"I was denied due process and placed on indefinite administrative leave. This is retaliation related to the collective bargaining process," he stated.
Finally, Post alleged the city promoted three new part-time sergeants at the end of December, "in violation of the collective bargaining contract in effect at the time for all full-time sergeants and full-time patrolmen. The existing contract states any new position must be posted prior to the position being created."
Post noted in his filing that he "objected to the process of promoting with the union representatives during the negotiations several times."
Post wrote that, "on or about Dec. 31, 2017," the city retroactively paid him "as if the contract had been ratified."
This is the second complaint that Post has filed with SERB in the last two weeks; on Feb. 26, filed an unfair labor practice charge against the Ohio Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association in connection with the promotion of the part-time sergeants.
Reporter Phil Keren can be reached at 330-541-9421, email@example.com, or on Twitter at @keren_phil.