Griffith Council says no hearing for former cop chief

2013-06-18T21:30:00Z 2013-06-21T15:24:07Z Griffith Council says no hearing for former cop chiefCHARLES F. HABER Times Correspondent
June 18, 2013 9:30 pm  • 

GRIFFITH | The Town Council on Tuesday said "no" to a second demand from Ron Kottka's lawyer to give the former police chief a hearing on his demotion in November.

Last month, the council accepted Kottka's retirement. But two weeks ago, Kottka's attorney, Christopher Cooper, said he was withdrawing the retirement after the council rejected his first request for a hearing.

In response, Griffith Town Attorney Robert Schwerd said there is no legal way for a person to demand his job back after voluntarily retiring.

Earlier this month, Cooper said Indiana law requires a hearing in public when a police officer demands a hearing that he is entitled to.

The council disagreed.

"No hearing is required under law to allow that decision to be challenged and none will be granted," council President Glen Gaby, R-1st, said as he read a lengthy statement from the council.

At the time of Kottka's demotion, the Safety Board said there were multiple complaints against him regarding "gross misconduct within the police administration."

In reading the statement, Gaby said the council "took action to move the Griffith Police Department in a new direction, which included the demotion of the police chief at the time, Ron Kottka."

Gaby said the council also wants to clarify an issue regarding a sexual discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice on behalf of a female officer who was denied a promotion.

After the case was resolved last month, references were made to it as sexual "harassment," Gaby said.

Gaby stressed that the case involved a charge of discrimination and that no charges of sexual harassment have ever been made against the Police Department.

"Furthermore, no one has accused former chief Kottka of any action that could be described as sexual harassment," Gaby read from the statement.

"We make no statement connecting the Department of Justice charges, or their resolution, to the demotion of the former chief."

In concluding the statement, Gaby said, "We sincerely thank the former chief for his 37 plus years of service to the Griffith Police Department. Now we plan to move forward with the necessary business of the town."

Cooper has previously said a federal lawsuit will be filed if the second hearing demand is not approved by the council.

In other business, current Police Chief Greg Mance announced that the task force involving Griffith, Highland and Munster has netted five arrests over the past few days.

Three were drug-related and two were from traffic stops

Mance added that two of the arrests were with the help of Griffith's new police dog, Gino.

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