Rose Kallor, LLP is pleased to announce that it has secured an arbitration award in its favor on behalf of the Town of New Milford in a grievance arbitration filed by the United Public Service Employee Union 47 on behalf of Thomas Kenny, Jr., a former Town of New Milford police officer, who was terminated by the police department.
Kenny's son sent an email impersonating one of his superiors at the police department. Included in the email were two attachments, including a copy of a lawsuit by former Town Police Department Chief Boyne and an anonymous letter alleging ethical and criminal actions by current employees of the police department. The email was sent to members of the New Milford Police Department, the news media, and Connecticut's Police Officer Standards and Training Counsel.
An internal, objective investigation followed, which included multiple interviews of Kenny. Kenney's story was inconsistent at various points during the interviews, including his knowledge of the contents of the email. Following the investigation, the Town's Police Department terminated Kenney on June 12, 2020.
In denying the grievance and upholding the termination, the panel agreed that Kenney had provided “evasive answers” during the internal affairs investigation and found the testimony of the New Milford officer who conducted the investigation “credible and persuasive.” The panel accepted the Town's arguments advanced by Rose Kallor, and determined that Kenney played a significant role in the dissemination of the email, and found that Kenney's actions were contrary to the best interests of the town and his ability to perform his public service role as a police officer. In doing so, the panel held that there is a “public interest in the integrity and trustworthiness of police officers” and found that Kenney's actions were both willful and disruptive to the operations of the New Milford Police Department.
Additionally, the panel agreed that Kenney's actions would impact his future ability and trustworthiness as an officer in judicial proceedings and found compelling the Town's argument that Kenney's misconduct would have to be disclosed in any future action under the Supreme Court's standards for exculpatory evidence in Brady v. Maryland (1963).
Practical Implications: This case underscores the importance of a thorough internal affairs/workplace investigations in a unionized environment. Moreover, specifically to police departments, this case serves as a reminder that honesty is paramount for any police officer, given the need to disclose evidence of dishonesty in criminal cases as exculpatory evidence.
The case is Connecticut State Board of Mediation and Arbitration No. 2020-A-0212, Thomas Kenney.
About Rose Kallor:
This case was handled by Firm Partner, Michael Rose. Rose Kallor, LLP is a labor and employment law firm with offices in Hartford, Connecticut and New York, New York. Rose Kallor concentrates its practice in the representation of public and private-sector employers, individuals, and municipalities in the New England and New York Metropolitan area. Committed to high-quality, professional representation, the attorneys at Rose Kallor stand ready to provide legal counsel on all aspects of employment and labor law. For more about Rose Kallor, visit our website at https://www.rosekallor.com/.