Chief Proffitt, Mayor Welker also named as defendants

Last updated: April 07. 2014 4:37PM - 3774 Views
Sarah Hawley shawley@civitasmedia.com

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POMEROY — The village of Pomeroy is once again the defendant in a civil action filed last week in Meigs County Common Pleas Court.

A civil action was filed Friday by former Pomeroy police officer Kyle Calendine alleging he was improperly suspended from his position as an officer with the department.

The complaint filed by Portsmouth attorney Michael H. Mearan contradicts the actions taken by Pomeroy Village Council on April 22, 2013.

The Daily Sentinel’s report from that meeting — which appeared in the April 24, 2013 edition — reads in part:

“Officer Kyle Calendine’s resignation was approved by a 5-1 vote following a more than 30-minute executive session during Monday’s regular meeting. Calendine was drawn into the national media spotlight briefly in February amid allegations of discrimination against his sexual preference.

“Council President Ruth Spaun requested the executive session to discuss disciplinary matters with a police department employee.

“Following the executive session, it was stated that no action would be taken with regard to the matter discussed.

“The motion was then made to accept the resignation of Calendine. Spaun was the lone “no” vote to accept the officer’s resignation.

“Calendine was on the agenda for Monday’s meeting and was in attendance, but did not address council.

Police Chief Mark Proffitt said Calendine’s resignation was effective April 15. According to the resignation letter, Calendine is taking a position with another department. He said the letter did not reference the controversy from earlier this year, nor did it specify with which department Calendine would be working. Proffitt told The Daily Sentinel that Calendine’s decision pertained, at least in part, to the distance of his commute to work from his Athens County residence.”

Defendants named in the case are the village of Pomeroy, Mark E. Proffitt, and Jackie Welker. Proffitt is the village police chief, while Welker was the acting mayor at the time of the allegations made in the suit. Welker has since been elected to the position.

The civil action filed Friday states that on or about April 15, 2013, Proffitt placed Calendine under permanent suspension effectively discharging Calendine from his employment as a police officer for the village of Pomeroy.

Additional statements made in the complaint allege Calendine was not served with written notice of his suspension; that Mayor Jackie Welker did not provide Calendine with a hearing on the suspension; and that Calendine was not given the opportunity to appeal his suspension to Village Council as provided by law.

Finally, Calendine alleges he was not suspended from his position as a police officer for the village of Pomeroy in accordance with Ohio law and was wrongfully discharged.

Calendine demands that his permanent suspension be vacated and that he be reinstated as an officer; that he be awarded back wages since April 15, 2013; that he be awarded future wages as the facts may admit; that he be awarded damages in excess of $25,000 for emotional distress and mental anguish caused by his suspension; he be provided a hearing upon his suspension; and for further relief as the court determines.

There is also a demand for a jury trial.

Calendine, along with Proffitt, were in the national news after they made allegations of anti-homosexual comments against then-Mayor Mary McAngus. The allegations lead to the resignation of McAngus just days after the alleged comments were made public. Welker, who was president of council, replaced McAngus as mayor.

The village of Pomeroy is also defendant in two lawsuits with regard to the slip on Butternut Avenue, and the recently concluded suit filed by Banks Construction with regard to the old Pomeroy High School property.

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