Arnold police chief Robert Shockey has succeeded once again in extracting money from Arnold taxpayers. First he got the city to make purchases from his businesses, then he got the city to pay his son-in-law a salary during his police training. Finally, he filed a totally bogus lawsuit against the city and two council members. Well, that lawsuit has been settled (barely), so Shockey will receive a cool $70,000.
I say that the suit was bogus because age discrimination was one of the claims, even though there was not even a suggestion that that is what anyone cared about. The reason Shockey put that in the suit is that he needed to be part of a protected class, and since he’s a white guy, that was the only one available to him.
I say that the case was barely settled because the council vote to approve it was 5-3. The roll call vote on February 11 was as follows:
- Jason Fulbright – yes
- Brian McArthur – yes
- Nancy Crisler – yes
- Gary Plunk – yes
- David Owens – yes
- Phil Amato – no
- Paul Freese – no
- Butch Cooley – no
Not only did three people vote no, but some frank comments were made about Shockey by council members to the Leader. Freese said:
…he knew what he was getting into. Personally, I felt he didn’t deserve the money. I didn’t feel it was justified.
Cooley said he thinks it’s time for the chief to retire. While these councilmen also said complementary things about the chief, it is clear that he is now in a rather weak position.
Mayor Ron Counts said the period with all the lawsuits “was a dark time for the city.” But it was a bright time for him, because the lawsuit was filed against his two opponents in the mayoral election, and it came just in time for the campaign.
Another settlement the city handed out during this time (without a lawsuit even being filed) was to rec department head Susie Boone. She only got $55,000, but she also got an agreement that it would take a supermajority of the council to fire her. Shockey got no such clause.
Candidate Cop Connections
Incidentally, two candidates for Arnold city council in the April 5 election are married to Arnold policemen. The candidates are Jennifer Beutenmiller in Ward 1 and Mary Ruiz in Ward 3. Ruiz also just retired as an Arnold police dispatcher. I’m not sure it would be a good idea to elect them to the council. They will probably not be able to vote on anything police related, given the conflict of interest. That removes them from considering a number of issues that could come before the council. The next council may have to decide whether to replace the weakened police chief, and these two candidates would not get to participate in the decision or help choose his replacement.
Despite the fact that they won’t be able to vote on police matters, both were endorsed by the Arnold Police Officers Association. Beutenmiller was endorsed by Jeff Roorda, who was once fired as an Arnold cop and now makes his living defending bad officers.