Ky. Court of Appeals orders Lebanon Junction to reinstate police chief who was fired in 2008
LOUISVILLE, Ky., (WDRB) -- Seven years after he was fired as chief of the Lebanon Junction Police Department, the Kentucky Court of Appeals has ordered Darrell Paul be reinstated and receive full back pay and benefits.
But Paul won’t be going straight back to work, at least in part because his job is currently filled.
“At this point, he is willing to go back, although it’s obviously a difficult situation being that there is already a chief of police in place at Lebanon Junction,” said Garry Adams, an attorney for Paul.
Adams said officials for the city have 30 days to either appeal the ruling or negotiate a deal with Paul. He said an appeal is unlikely.
“Their option is to try and resolve it with us in lieu of reinstatement,” said Adams. “Just the back pay is over $336,000, without any benefits.”
Michael T. Burns, an attorney representing the city, said no decision has been made on what step to take next. He declined to comment further. Neither Mayor Larry Dangerfield nor the current police chief could be reached for comment on Monday.
After Paul was fired by then-Mayor James Sweat on July 30, 2008, Paul requested a hearing before city officials, which never occurred.
In a letter to Paul at the time, Sweat said Paul’s performance was “unsatisfactory and your recent actions reflects a discredit upon” the city.
A newspaper article at the time said that Sweat and Paul disagreed over how much time police should devote to patrolling portions of Interstate 65 within the city limits, according to the appeals court ruling.
Paul filed a lawsuit against the city, saying he was denied due process. The suit was thrown out of Bullitt Circuit Court when a judge ruled no hearing was required to fire Paul.
But the appeals court on Friday ruled that Paul was entitled to a hearing and “is to be reinstated” as police chief.
The appeals court ruling does not become final for 30 days, Adams said, giving both sides time to work out an agreement.
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