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Thursday, May 5, 2016

2 more Thayer cops sue city

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

From left, Thayer Police Department former Sgt. Terry Bounds, Chief David Bailey, Lt. Josh McDaniels and former Assistant Chief Michael Bunting in front of the department's new vehicles in April 2010.
Two Thayer Police Officers who were dismissed in April of last year have filed lawsuits to reclaim their lost wages. One also wants his job back.

Terry Bounds of Mountain Home, Ark., a nine-year veteran of the department, was not reappointed during an April 12, 2011, city council meeting. Kevin Bettis, of Thayer, had been with the department for three-and-a-half years when he was dismissed during the same meeting.

In their petitions filed two weeks apart in January in Oregon County Circuit Court, both allege wrongful termination and wrongful discharge by the city.

In November, former Assistant Police Chief Michael Bunting filed a similar lawsuit after he was fired in closed session in October 2011.

Bounds and Bettis state that they did not receive any negative reviews throughout their employment with the city. Both were terminated during the annual city appointment of officers.

The board followed Police Chief David Bailey's recommendation to rehire all police department employees except Bounds and Bettis. The positions were refilled.

The board also unanimously voted to not reappoint City Attorney Jerri Leigh Caskey of Alton.

All other city officers, including the city clerk, treasurer, court clerk and police chief, were reappointed in April 2011.

Bounds, who was serving as a sergeant, and Bettis, a patrol officer, allege that their "permanent employee" positions were not appointed positions, and, therefore, not subject to reappointment by city council vote.

City ordinances state that "permanent employees shall be dismissed only after having been given written notice of the contemplated action."

The petitions state that Bounds and Bettis were damaged by the wrongful termination, including "lost wages, humiliation and emotional distress."

Bounds seeks lost wages, punitive damages and costs, while Bettis and Bunting filed for reinstatement to their positions, plus lost wages and punitive damages.

All three former officers are represented by attorney Lynsie Gabel-Upton of Willow Springs. Court dates have not been set in any of the cases.

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If the officers had not done anything wrong, and the City didn't follow the ordinances (anyone surprised by this?)... they should be entitled to damages. It's hard enough to get suitable law enforcement officers! I wish the officers luck on their suit!

-- Posted by goatgirl on Wed, Feb 29, 2012, at 3:12 PM

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