Ex-Chief Kottka's hearing request denied again

2013-06-21T19:16:00Z 2013-06-21T21:50:38Z Ex-Chief Kottka's hearing request denied againCharles F. Haber Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
June 21, 2013 7:16 pm  • 

GRIFFITH | The Griffith Safety Board on Thursday agreed with the Town Council's decision to deny a hearing for former Police Chief Ron Kottka on his demotion in November.

It is the second time this week Kottka's hearing request has been rejected. The Town Council denied the request on Tuesday with the Safety Board doing so Thursday.

The Town Council and Safety Board also have rejected Kottka's bid to cancel his retirement, which was accepted in April.

Last month, Kottka's attorney, Christopher Cooper, filed paperwork demanding Kottka have the chance to face his accusers. If he was denied that opportunity, Cooper said, the former chief would withdraw his retirement.

He did so last month after being denied a first time for a hearing before the Safety Board.

Kottka, who served the department for more than 30 years, was demoted by the Town Council in November on a recommendation by the Safety Board.

The Safety Board told the council it had reviewed allegations of "gross misconduct within the Police Department, including multiple complaints against Kottka.

"The Safety Board has no authority or purview to grant a hearing reviewing an action taken by the Town Council, which is the executive body of the town of Griffith," board Chairman James Marker said as he read the document Thursday night.

Also in the statement, Marker noted that the town received a letter from Kottka on April 22 advising he was retiring effective the next day.

"Despite having less than one day notice, the retirement was accepted and adjustments were made to accommodate the department for the shifts that needed to be covered due to Kottka's immediate absence," Marker said.

He went on to say that the board could find no unretirement language in the 1925 Police Pension Fund Act, the 1977 Police Officers' and Firefighters' Pension and Disability Fund Act, Griffith's police standard operating procedures or the town's personnel policy manual.

"Consequently, the attorney's notice withdrawing retirement has no known legal basis and no effect on the Griffith Police Department or the town of Griffith."

Town Council Vice President Rick Ryfa, R-3rd, reiterated that Kottka is not legally entitled to a hearing on his demotion and the Town Council maintains this stance.

"We're very encouraged at where the department has gone since November," Marker added. "We have faith in Chief (Greg) Mance and we're very excited where he's going to take the department."

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