Campbell files grievance with City

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By MIKE EDDLEMAN

Former Liberty Hill Police Chief Maverick Campbell has filed a grievance with the City, seeking reinstatement following his March 9 termination.

The grievance was filed April 9 — one month after Campbell was terminated without public explanation by the City Council.

“The grievance seeks that he be reinstated,” said Campbell’s attorney Tiger Hanner. “He shouldn’t have been terminated and they violated his contract as it is. Ultimately that’s the request in the grievance that it be investigated and he be reinstated.”

In the motion to terminate Campbell on March 9, the Council cited Section 13 of his contract, which spells out the causes for termination, including “willful misconduct, gross negligence, dishonest or fraudulent conduct, or such other acts in bad faith which result in injury to employer.” No further explanation was provided, but on March 11, the City provided documents alleging misconduct by Campbell during a conference in New Jersey in late February. But interpretations of the details of the incident and how the City’s own investigation of Campbell – which led to his termination – was conducted have left questions unanswered.

Hanner said that at no time did the Council speak to Campbell about the incident.

Hanner said he did not get a response to the grievance until he was informed by the City on April 30 that an independent investigator was being hired. It was the first response he had received from the City regarding the grievance and did not include any further details, according to Hanner.

“I have no idea who this investigator is going to be or whether they are investigating the things we wrote in the grievance or investigating the termination or what. I don’t know because I get no feedback from the attorney (Tad Cleeves),” he said.

The grievance not only seeks reinstatement, but also outlines other alleged issues regarding the conduct of Mayor Rick Hall.

“It is also to bring to light the actions of the Mayor and those supporting him,” Hanner said. “From the beginning this has been a personal agenda of the Mayor and not about any action by Chief Campbell. The termination clearly did not meet the legal basis to terminate the contract. We pointed that out and tried to make that clear and they went for it anyway.”

Hanner said he hopes to get a response from the City, but added that Campbell would not hesitate to take further legal action.

“We will pursue appropriate legal actions,” Hanner said. “We are trying to give the City an opportunity to review this and correct it, but if they choose not to take that opportunity we will pursue the appropriate legal route. In filing the grievance, Maverick has been committed to serving the City. He’s also committed to protecting his rights under the contract. The grievance process is part of reviewing their actions and it is the first step we’ve taken in that regard.”

The grievance was on the April 27 Council agenda under executive session, but the issue was not addressed in open session. Hall said the City had no comment on the issue and couldn’t discuss it.

The Independent filed a Freedom of Information Request for the grievance on April 30, but had not received a response from the City as of press time Wednesday. The deadline to the allowable 10 business day period to respond to the request is May 14.

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