Griffith board recommends settlement in sexual discrimination claim

2013-05-11T20:45:00Z Griffith board recommends settlement in sexual discrimination claimCharles F. Haber Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
May 11, 2013 8:45 pm  • 

GRIFFITH | The Safety Board is recommending a settlement with a Griffith police officer who alleged sexual discrimination in relation to a promotion.

"This consent decree includes allegations of sexual discrimination within the Police Department's previous administration," board Secretary Liz Goral said.

The settlement stemmed from a complaint filed a few years ago with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission by an officer who claimed harassment under the previous police administration, Town Council Vice President Rick Ryfa, R-3rd, said Friday afternoon.

Ryfa said the U.S. Department of Justice sent representatives to Griffith to investigate the situation and then prepared the decree and suggested that the town accept it.

With two members absent, the board voted 3-0 on Thursday to recommend the Town Council agree to the settlement.

"In an effort to avoid further litigation and the high cost of defending the suit, the town and the officer have agreed in principal to a consent decree," Ryfa said. "Once this decree is executed and filed in the courts, it will become public record."

Ryfa said the town will comment further after the decree becomes public record.

"The town of Griffith and the Griffith police do not condone any behavior that can be construed as harassing or improper," Ryfa said. "The current administration was not named in the complaint, and the Town Council is confident that type of behavior is not tolerable by any current police administrators."

The board also directed new Police Chief Greg Mance to study the promotion process that was used by the previous administration and give a report in June.

The board also accepted the retirement of former Police Chief Ron Kottka.

Kottka and his second-in-command, Michael Gulley, were demoted in November by the Town Council, on a recommendation by the Safety Board, for alleged "gross misconduct" within the department.

The Safety Board accepted Gulley's retirement last month.

In other business, the board promoted three firefighters who just completed their probationary period. Sworn in as full and active members were Paul Esquivel, Steve Crabtree and LaShaun Alston.

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