BPD, city to turn in legal documents as suit to keep lieutenant position continues

David Yates Jun. 29, 2009, 7:38am

In April, the Southeast Texas Record reported that the Beaumont Police Officers Association sued 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 it is attempting to get rid of a lieutenant position after Lt. Dave Samples retired on Feb. 1. Beaumont City Council considered the proposal at its April 28 city council meeting.

On June 29 presiding Judge Bob Wortham ordered that all legal findings and facts on the matter be turned into his 58th District Court.

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.

As the Record reported, the city contends it is allowed to eliminate the position after a settlement and release agreement resulting from the lawsuit Curtis Breaux 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 an injunction that would permanently 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 Breaux.

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

Case No. A183-907

More News