BPD suit wants city to keep lieutenant position

Kelly Holleran Apr. 30, 2009, 8:38am

The Beaumont Police Officers Association wants to stop the city of Beaumont from eliminating a high-ranking police position from its department.

The association filed a lawsuit April 28 in Jefferson County District Court against the city, claiming that it is attempting to get rid of a lieutenant position after Beaumont Police Lieutenant Dave Samples retired on Feb. 1.

Beaumont City Council considered the proposal at its April 28 city council meeting.

After a lieutenant retires, the city's civil service director is required to post a notice for lieutenant promotional exam and study materials as part of Texas Local Government Code and a collective bargaining agreement with the city and the association, the suit states.

The same section of code mandates the city's civil service commission to post a notice of the exam at least 31 days in advance.

Although the city has complied with the code, city manager Kyle Hayes advised the police officer association that the city intends to abolish the open lieutenant position, the complaint alleges.

The city contends it is allowed to eliminate the position after a settlement and release agreement resulting from the lawsuit Curtis Breuax, et. al. vs. The City of Beaumont.

However, the association argues the city's interpretation of the settlement is incorrect.

"The City of Beaumont must provide a promotional examination for the vacant lieutenant spot in accordance with the Texas Local Government Code and the collective bargaining agreement, and promote a qualified test taker from the promotion list created from the exam," the suit states. "The settlement agreement cited by Kyle Hayes does not allow the City of Beaumont to abolish the vacant lieutenant position."

The Beaumont Police Officers Association intends to show during its defense that harm to the association is imminent if the position is abolished. It will cause irreparable injury because the promotional process has already begun and would be compromised if the city has its way, the association alleges.

The association is asking for a temporary restraining order and a temporary injunction that would prevent the city from directly or indirectly abolishing the vacant lieutenant position. It is also asking the court to set a reasonable bond for the restraining order.

After a trial, the Beaumont Police Officers Association is requesting the court permanently prohibit the city from abolishing the vacant position and to enforce the full and final settlement and release agreement in Curtis Breaux, et. al. vs. The City of Beaumont.

Mitch Adams of the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas will represent the Beaumont association.

The case has been assigned to Judge Bob Wortham, 58th District Court.

Jefferson County District Court case number: A183-907.

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