Park District responds to lawsuit by former Park District police sergeant
Online Staff Report
Former Rockford Park District police sergeant Richard Scot Nason filed a lawsuit against the Park District June 29 alleging the district violated the Illinois Whistleblower Act when he was fired in July 2011.
Specifically, Nason alleges he was fired after attempting to blow the whistle on a fellow sergeant who allegedly falsified time sheets and put the public and officers in danger.
The suit was brought against the district, Executive Director Tim Dimke and Interim Police Chief John Piccolin. Piccolin served as interim police chief for about six months until the appointment of current chief Theo Glover. The lawsuit seeks more than $50,000 in compensation.
Former Park District Police Officer Todd Murr filed a lawsuit in September 2011 alleging his attempts to report abuses of power by police led to a loss in wages, emotional distress and changes in his job responsibilities. That case was dismissed July 3 by Judge J. Edward Prochaska.
Following is the Park District’s response to the lawsuit filed by Nason June 26:
Statement regarding former sergeant’s grievance
The Rockford Park District was recently notified that former Park Police Sergeant Richard Scot Nason filed a lawsuit June 29, 2012, in Winnebago County Circuit Court. Richard Scot Nason’s complaint alleges that he was terminated earlier this year as a result of his “whistle blowing,” which he claims led to personnel changes within the Park Police administration.
The Rockford Park District denies that it has engaged in any retaliation against former Sgt. Nason or anyone else, and will vigorously defend against the allegations in the lawsuit. Contrary to the allegations in the lawsuit, the Rockford Park District expressly encourages employees to report any perceived problems or concerns, and no one is retaliated against for doing so.
Executive Director Tim Dimke said that the Rockford Park District has Board Policy 2.2 Treatment of Staff, and several personnel policies in place, including an Open Door Policy and a Financial Misconduct and Whistleblower Policy, all of which promote and encourage employees to talk freely with members of management or their immediate supervisor without any retaliation.
The Rockford Park District Financial Misconduct and Whistleblower Policy has also been published in order to:
• Establish a mechanism to encourage employees to report, on a confidential or anonymous basis, any suspected irregularity or inappropriate activity related to the District’s financial management, and to prevent retaliation for such reporting.
• Develop, adopt, and disclose a formal procedure to investigate employee reports of suspected inappropriate financial irregularity or inappropriate activity.
“We treat employee concerns with the highest integrity, and encourage employees to report any wrongdoings. As a result of what our policies state, employees will not be threatened, demoted, or terminated for coming forward. Rockford Park District Chief of Police Theo Glover is re-establishing our police department as a premier and credible police operation,” said Dimke.
Posted July 11, 2012
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