DECATUR – Attorneys representing the city of Decatur filed a motion Friday seeking to dismiss the latest version of former police Chief Brad Sweeney's lawsuit against the city.
Sweeney has alleged that his Feb. 4 firing was retaliation by City Manager Tim Gleason for refusing to speak in favor of a local gas tax, and because Sweeney objected to Gleason's use of a police car and driver to reach the St. Louis airport for a personal trip.
Gleason and the city have contended in court filings that Sweeney never objected to Gleason's use of the police car, and that Gleason had multiple other reasons to fire the former chief.
It its motion to dismiss, the city argues that Sweeney did not refuse to participate in Gleason's use of the police car. If Sweeney believed the ride was a violation of law or policy, allowing it makes him an accessory to the act.
“Public policy cannot embrace circumstances where a chief of police can cast a blind eye to the laws, which he is charged to enforce, for his own benefit, or the benefit of another,” the document says.
Sweeney's initial complaint was dismissed at an April 12 hearing; he filed an amended version April 22.
Many of the legal arguments pertain to the trip to St. Louis, which took place May 7, 2015, after the annual Greater Decatur Chamber of Commerce State of the City address. Gleason caught a flight to California to attend an event related to his son's Army service.
He has said that former Mayor Mike McElroy told him to take a police car and driver to accommodate his travel plans while allowing him to attend the breakfast, his first as city manager.
You have free articles remaining.
Sweeney's lawsuit alleges that he objected to Gleason's use of the police car, saying later that it would not happen again. Their relationship was difficult afterward, the lawsuit says.
The city's motion finds fault with Sweeney's argument that he reported Gleason's alleged violation of the law to his supervisor, who was also Gleason.
“When only the violator is told, the violation of law remains a secret,” the motion says. “The 'disclosure' then exists as a tool for the claimed whistleblower to use against or to leverage the violator.”
In the event the lawsuit is not dismissed, the city's attorneys argue that multiple elements of Sweeney's complaint should be stricken.
One example is a letter from the Illinois Department of Employment Security, dated March 14, that says Sweeney was not fired for misconduct at work. Sweeney attached the letter as an exhibit to the most recent complaint, but the city argues that the letter is not admissible in court, citing both state statute and case law.
Attorneys for both sides have declined to comment.
Sweeney is represented by Jon Robinson. The city is represented by Jerry Stocks and Ed Flynn.