Massachusetts Appeals Court, No. 2014-P-1124
The Town appealed a decision of the Civil Service Commission that overturned the Town’s June 2011 termination of a police officer after it was discovered that he, among other things, had refused to follow an order issued by a former police chief and then later accused that chief of misconduct. He was also found to have been uncooperative during an internal affairs investigation into his actions.
The Commission, after a hearing, reduced the officer’s termination to a 21 month suspension and ordered him back to work. On appeal of the Commission’s decision to the to the Superior Court, Attorney Michael J. Kennefick secured a preliminary order staying the return to work order while the appeal was pending. The Superior Court ultimately overturned the Commission’s decision and the officer appealed, arguing that his actions during the internal affairs investigation did not constitute insubordination, that his prior disciplinary record didn’t warrant termination under progressive discipline principles and that his termination was unjustified and inequitable when compared to disciplinary actions taken against other officers for other violations.
In a decision dated June 29, 2015, the Appeals Court affirmed the judgment of the Superior Court, finding that there was sufficient cause to terminate the officer.