Tag Archives: mchr

Quotes from Shockey Articles

17 Aug

Leah Thorsen, the Jefferson County respondent for the Post-Dispatch, who I consider to be a partner in covering this area, wrote a good article on Arnold Chief Shockey’s lawsuit. I especially appreciate this, in the 2nd paragraph:

The suit alleges retaliation, negligent supervision and training, and age discrimination, although the suit doesn’t give any examples of harassment based solely on his age.

That’s because there aren’t any! Thank you, Leah, for pointing this out. This fact has escaped others who covered this suit. The Leader didn’t even mention the age aspect of the suit (perhaps knowing it was bogus?).

Later in the article is what I called on Facebook the Quote of the Year, from former councilwoman and lawsuit co-defendant Doris Borgelt:

“I didn’t know it was a problem to ask somebody to do their job, which is what it boils down to,” Borgelt said Wednesday. “If he’s intimidated by a suburban housewife, what does he do when prisoners say something he doesn’t like to them?”

Of course, I should concede here that Shockey probably wouldn’t get away with pulling his gun on Borgelt. Even Pat Martin from the Leader might frown on that (maybe).

Here’s a paragraph in the Leader article I consider to be incorrect:

Shockey claims in his suit he been [sic] retaliated against ever since Moss’ sister, Becky Moss, was fired more than two years ago from her job with the Arnold parks department.

But in fact, the suit says this:

Sometime after the employee’s termination, the employee’s brother, Defendant Moss, was elected to the Arnold City Council. Since that time the Councilman in question harassed the Director who reported the initial incident to Plaintiff. The Director then reported the harassment by Defendant Moss to Plaintiff, which initiated the unwarranted and illegal harassment directed to Plaintiff.

The “Director,” of course, is Susie Boone. So the alleged harassment of Shockey didn’t start until after Boone’s report to Shockey about a year ago. It did not start when Becky Moss was fired.

Here’s another Leader quote, from Shockey’s (and Boone’s) lawyer Joan Swartz:

We’re trying to protect the chief from ongoing retaliation, which is what we believe is happening.

According to the Missouri Commission on Human Rights, a claim of retaliation requires an “adverse action:”

Examples of adverse actions include:

  • Employment actions such as termination, refusal to hire, and denial of promotion;
  • Other actions affecting employment such as unjustified discipline or negative evaluations, unjustified negative references, or increased workload;
  • Any other action such as an assault or unfounded civil or criminal charges;

I don’t see how any of these apply here. MCHR also says this:

Adverse actions do not include petty slights and annoyances, such as stray negative comments in an otherwise positive or neutral evaluation, “snubbing” a colleague, or negative comments that are justified by an employee’s poor work performance or history.

Now I think that accurately describes this suit.

On a related note, Shockey is 52. I thought that seemed rather young to be claiming (unfounded) age discrimination. It turns out that, in Missouri, one needs to be only 40 years old to make this claim. That seems overly low to me.


Another Payout in Arnold?

11 Aug

A new passenger has hopped aboard the Arnold gravy train, as police chief and interim city administrator Bob Shockey has filed a lawsuit against the city, councilman Ken Moss, and former councilwoman Doris Borgelt. Their “offense” was retaliation, creating a hostile work environment, and age discrimination.

Now, the inclusion of the age discrimination allegation is important. It is also baseless, but that’s a given. In order for Shockey to claim a Missouri Human Rights Act violation, he has to be part of a protected class (race, color, religion, national origin, sex, ancestry, age or disability). So, while age has nothing to do with the criticism Shockey has (rightly) received, he had to throw that in there to justify his lawsuit. Recall that original gravy train passenger Susie Boone, city Parks and Recreation Director, included no such class designation in her original harassment complaint against Ken Moss. As the 12-27-12 Leader reported, the Missouri Commission on Human Rights sent back her complaint, saying they “could not do anything” with it. But no problem there. She simply re-filed her complaint with “gender discrimination” tacked on, although there was no evidence that her gender had anything to do with Moss’ criticism of her. Along with a bogus investigation, this paved the way for Boone to receive a $55,000 payday and protections that make it very hard to fire her.

Shockey’s claim that he was harassed is based on criticism he received over the sham Boone investigation. It was Shockey who selected the investigator, Kevin Garrison of Protective and Investigative Services. Garrison is the man who could not be served the lawsuit Ken Moss filed against him because his address of record is actually his accountant’s office (look this up on Casenet). In both the cases of Boone and Shockey, legitimate criticism and oversight of their work is being labeled as “harassment.” It should be further noted that Shockey has received no adverse employment effects from this alleged activity. He is still the chief, and he still has a few weeks left of being interim city administrator (and collecting the accompanying pay increase). In short, this suit is baseless.

But the courts are not his audience here. The audience is council members Amato, Fulbright, Crisler, Cooley, Freese, and Coleman. They are the individuals that Shockey hopes to receive a payout from. Will he get more money than Boone? He hired her attorney, Joan Swartz, I guess because she has experience with extracting payouts from the Arnold council.

Now, Boone didn’t have to take the step of filing a lawsuit. Her MCHR complaint was enough, after the investigation. But I guess Shockey can’t order an investigation of his own complaint. Perhaps this lawsuit is timed to coincide with the arrival of the new city administrator, Bryan Richison, on September 1. When handing over the reins, Shockey can say, “hey, there’s this suit of mine, and the way we do things around here is to have an investigation. If you need a suggestion for an investigator, I can recommend one.”

More Harassment in Arnold?

15 Jul

Someone call the Missouri Commission on Human Rights. This looks like harassment (of Susie Boone, of course). Click to enlarge. This is from the June 13 Leader.

boone market

Arnold Settles Ott Case for $450k

24 May

At long last, we know how much Arnold settled the Alicia Ott suit for – $450,000. Ott was the Arnold police officer who alleged sexual harassment by a fellow officer and wrongful termination by Chief Bob Shockey.

The settlement was approved by the city council on April 18 and finalized three days ago. That said, it is interesting that this news comes out Friday afternoon of Memorial Day weekend. Are they trying to bury this news? I don’t think it works that way in local government.

The city denies any liability, insists it had a strong case, and says that it was the insurance company’s idea to settle. City Attorney Bob Sweeney said to KMOV, “It would have been fiscally irresponsible not to accept the settlement.” This, of course, is the first time he has shown any concern for fiscal responsibility. He also said, “Do you ever hear those stories about animals that get caught in steel taps and they gnaw their own limbs off? That’s what it feels like [to settle this case].” This reminds me of that shrimpy, cocky kid on the schoolyard who hides behind his large, muscular friend and yells “I’m gonna kick your ass!” It is easy to talk this way after you settle a case, and any threat of losing is eliminated.

A curious note from Casenet from March 18 is as follows:

Plaintiff’s motion for Sanctions is called and heard.  Defendant City of Arnold is ordered to produce documents in response to Request Nos 9 and 10 of Plaintiff’s Third Request for Production within 10 days of the date of this order.  The Court sustains Defendant’s objections to Request Nos. 7 and 8 of Plaintiff’s Third Request for Production.  With regard to Request Nos. 1 through 6, Plaintiff will provide supporting case law to the Court and Defendant will have 48 hours to submit a response.  Defendant City of Arnold is order to pay Plaintiff attorneys’ fees in the amount of $871.50 within 10 days of the date of this Order. SO ORDERED:  NATHAN B. STEWART, CIRCUIT JUDGE DIV. THREE

This is after Ott’s lawyer asked several times for the court to compel Arnold to produce certain documents. What was Sweeney hiding here? These don’t seem to be the actions of someone with a great case. Note that the date of the above docket entry was about two weeks before the recent municipal election. Was someone trying to run out the clock, to get past election day before settling this case without releasing anything too damaging?

Will there be any repercussions to this settlement at the Arnold Police Department? Doesn’t look like it. Shockey is still the chief, and alleged harasser Owen Conarow is still employed by the city. He was supposedly “disciplined” at some point. Recall that Shockey angrily said in March that “to convict my officers before anything is done is unacceptable.” Well, something’s been done. Can we “convict” now?

Tidbits from the Moss Lawsuit

11 Mar

Here are some interesting items I found in Ken Moss’ lawsuit against the members of the Arnold regime. You can read the suit itself here:

  • Susie Boone, in her timeline of alleged harassment by Moss, claimed no harassment between April 2011 and September 2012. In September was the alleged 9/11 ceremony incident (when Moss allegedly called Boone a bad name to a third party) that reportedly prompted the initial complaint. Other than that, the pre-April 2011 allegations are outside the 180-day window required by the Missouri Commission on Human Rights (MCHR). (Paragraph 14 of the suit)
  • More than one council member has stated that the tape recordings of the interviews done as part of the investigation of the Boone complaint included discussion/derision of the interviewees by Kevin Garrison and his sidekick, Arnold Police Major Nick McBroom. Paragraph 30 of the suit includes some off-color comments the two made questioning the veracity of some interviewees’ remarks. In these comments, Garrison, supposedly an outside, independent observer, seems pretty confident that he knows the real story and that he can detect lies from people he’s never seen before.
  • This lawsuit alleges a conflict of interest exists for Bob Sweeney, since he previously represented Moss’ business in some legal matters, and Moss consulted him Sweeney when the city fired his sister. Also, Sweeney seemed to be confused during this process about whether he represented the city, Boone, or even Moss (see paragraph 36). On a related note, paragraph 38 reports:

    This is not the first time conflict issues have been raised with Sweeney. In correspondence dated February 8, 2011, the Advisory Committee of the Supreme Court of Missouri cautioned Sweeney about “the disclosures and communications necessary, under Rules 4-1.0(e) and 4.1-7, in situations involving conflicts of interest and consent to conflicting representation.”

  • Paragraph 40 makes a point that I have made, that even if what Moss did what was alleged, none of it has anything to do with gender, age, or other protected activity under the Missouri Human Rights Act. Paragraph 44 confirms my speculation that Boone’s second MCHR complaint, filed after the first one (technically a mere Intake Questionnaire submittal) was rejected, contains for the first time allegations of gender and age discrimination, suggesting that the magical buzzwords were added in order to get MCHR to accept the complaint.
  • Paragraph 54 addresses (as evidence that Sweeney has in the past, like he is doing now, interfered with Arnold elections) the ballot removals of Shaun Missey and Rod Mullins that I have discussed so much on this site. Unlike the Leader, he mentions the fact that in 2011 Sweeney took a different position on the tax requirements of candidates, because at that time his buddies were the ones late on their taxes.
  • Much of this suit is based on Sweeney’s interactions with the media. He convicted Moss publicly before the investigation was complete, and he allegedly leaked the Boone and Bob Shockey complaints, and the results of the sham investigation, to local media.

We will see how the regime responds to this. In the name of consistency, they should quickly offer him a settlement, in order to avoid the possibility that the city loses the suit and has to pay a lot of money. That’s why we were told the Boone settlement was necessary. This suit is, I would argue, more legitimate than Boone’s complaint, and thus the city is at greater risk now.

New Byrnes Mill Police Chief Subject of Discrimination Lawsuit

6 Mar

I found out a few weeks ago that the city of Byrnes Mill hired Bob Sweeney to be its city attorney. I opined then that the council must not be familiar with Google, because a quick search would have let them know this was a bad move (unless they want to get in on his hijinks).

On a related note, Byrnes Mill just hired a new police chief, C. Michael Seibert. I wonder, when the mayor and aldermen did so, if they were aware that a policewoman from Bolivar, Missouri, where he served as chief until June 2011, filed an Missouri Commission on Human Rights (MCHR) complaint, and then filed a lawsuit, against the city of Bolivar due to alleged discrimination by her superiors at the police department there. The complaints portray a department that from the top down was hostile to Amanda Blake, the only female officer in the department. The case, in the process of being tried in Polk County, is Amanda Blake vs. City of Bolivar, case number 12PO-CC00015. A status review hearing is set for March 14.

When reading the Leader article about Seibert’s hiring, I thought it was odd that “he retired from his job in Bolivar when a new mayor was elected.” I’m not sure why that in itself would require an unforced resignation. Furthermore, he didn’t resign to retire, but to become a mere deputy sheriff in Polk County. It turns out he announced his resignation (in April 2011) about six weeks before Blake filed her MCHR complaint against the Bolivar police. She was fired in November 2010. Maybe the complaint and the resignation are related. Coverage in the Bolivar paper (for which I paid $1 to access) does not suggest any link, and is favorable to the chief.

Seibert does have some strong points on his resume, including being named 2007 Outstanding Missouri Police Chief and serving as treasurer of the Missouri Police Chiefs Association. However, the allegations in the complaint and lawsuit are troubling. I have to believe the subject of this lawsuit came up during Seibert’s job interview. I don’t know if there are any lady cops in Byrnes Mill, but if there are, they have to be a bit unsettled if they know about this lawsuit.

Note: Byrnes Mill isn’t the only city in Jefferson County that employs a police chief that is the subject of a discrimination lawsuit. The other one’s last name rhymes with ‘hockey’ and he is the chief of a city that’s name rhymes with ‘carnold.’

Boone’s 5 Steps to a Payday

2 Mar

Do you work for the City of Arnold? Need some extra money? Follow these easy steps:

  1. File a harassment complaint against a councilman who is out of favor with the regime. If the Missouri Commission on Human Rights rejects your complaint as outside of their purview, just file it again.
  2. Have the city hire an incompetent investigator to look into and back up your claim. It helps if the investigator makes up his mind before the investigation what the outcome will be. Writing skills not required.
  3. Hire a lawyer, threaten a lawsuit, offer a settlement.
  4. Have the council vote to accept the settlement. Nonwithstanding RSMo 77.105, a majority vote of the council not required.
  5. Profit!

The settlement is worth $55,000 to Arnold Parks Director Susie Boone. I assume a chunk of that will go to her lawyer. I don’t think the money is the main prize in this settlement, though:

The settlement also calls for Boone’s employment contract to be renewed annually for five years, unless a super majority of the City Council votes to terminate it.

This means she has a guaranteed job until she retires, pretty much regardless of her performance. I didn’t attend Thursday’s council meeting, but I bet police chief/city administrator Bob Shockey was chuckling with glee and rubbing his hands together as this settlement was being approved. He probably wants one just like it.

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