Retired Policeman Sues City for Wrongful Discharge, Negligence

Updated 1 year ago Edited from Multiple Sources
Retired Policeman Sues City for Wrongful Discharge, Negligence

Huntington City Council will be voting on a newly approved FOP Lodge 65 contract, which includes a stipulation that the lodge dismiss a suit against the city.

But, former HPD lieutenant Charles Kingery filed suit in November alleging wrongful discharge, breach of contract and negligence. 

According to the suit discussed in the Herald Dispatch, Police Chief Joseph  Ciccarelli and Capt. Hank Dial encouraged Kingery --- who often supervised the night shift --- to retire and accept an inside job filling in for an officer on military leave. As part of the offer, Kingery said the two told him he could collect his retirement and be guaranteed a job for two years.

Kingery based on employment records collected $112,000 for salary (including Overtime) in 2016. 

However, four month into the new job Kingery was laid off as the "low man" during the budget over expenditures of $5 million that led Mayor Williams to cut police and fire employees in January 2017. Although the full amount of the shortfall was not announced to the public until January , the Mayor in a Herald Dispatch interview said evidence of overspending was evident in September. Thus, Kingery's complaint alleges that the city --- through police department heads --- were negligent by not informing him of the true picture of financials at the time they induced him to retire and be rehired to a position most vulnerable to a layoff.

At the time of the offer, the city was actively advertising and hiring new officers. 

The Herald Dispatch released a statement from City Attorney Scott Damron on the complaint:

""We have seen the complaint and believe that it has no merit. The retired police officer who filed the lawsuit was an excellent police officer and he served the city honorably. However, he was rehired to a temporary position as an at-will employee without any promises as to the term of employment whatsoever. Therefore, we will defend the matter vigorously."

Due to the cutbacks , eleven offers were laid off other --- some  sought employment in nearby community's. Departmental recruitment was also impacted due to new hires moving to the city and in a short time finding themselves unemployed.

A similar scenario occurred with the Huntington Fire Department.


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