Former Griffith top cop withdraws retirement

2013-06-04T20:45:00Z 2013-06-21T15:24:07Z Former Griffith top cop withdraws retirementBY CHARLES F. HABER Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
June 04, 2013 8:45 pm  • 

GRIFFITH | Former Police Chief Ron Kottka has withdrawn his retirement after apparently being denied a hearing before the public with the town's Safety Board, his attorney said Tuesday afternoon.

The retirement was accepted by the Town Council last month.

In two official actions Tuesday, Christopher Cooper, representing Kottka, notified Griffith officials of the withdrawal and made a second demand for a hearing.

"It appears that there was a denial" of the first request because a hearing was never scheduled as required by law, Cooper said.

The first demand was sent to the town on May 23.

"The fact that it published a statement on its website does not satisfy the requirements of Indiana law when a police officer demands a hearing to which he is entitled," Cooper said.

If the second demand does not succeed, Cooper said a federal lawsuit will be filed.

Kottka, who served the department for 38 years, was demoted by the Town Council in November on a recommendation by the Safety Board.

In a letter to the council prior to Kottka's demotion, the Safety Board said there were multiple complaints against him regarding "gross misconduct within the police administration."

In May, Cooper said the town never specified the allegations against Kottka.

"When people make those kind of statements, they must be prepared to defend them," he said last month.

Griffith Town Attorney Robert Schwerd released an official statement last month that said, in part, "All of the allegations in the demand are categorically denied as unsubstantiated and untrue."

Schwerd added that the council's action was appropriate and legal as the council wanted to move the police department in a different direction.

After the council meeting Tuesday evening, Schwerd said Kottka is not legally entitled to a hearing.

He also said it appears as though Kottka wants his job back, but added that he has no right to demand such a thing.

"I know of nothing in the law that allows someone who voluntarily retired to demand their job back," Schwerd said.

Schwerd also said Kottka cannot simply unretire.

"There is no legal mechanism to withdraw a retirement after you voluntarily retire."

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