Pubdate: Tue, 3 Nov 2009
Source: Union Leader (Manchester, NH)
Copyright: 2009 The Union Leader Corp.
Note: Out-of-state letters are seldom published.
Author: Jason Schreiber, Union Leader Correspondent
Cited: Epping Board of Selectmen
Bookmark: (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition)
Bookmark: (Corruption - United States)


EPPING - A local police officer fighting his suspension may not get
the public hearing he wanted to air his complaints.

Selectmen have rejected a request by Officer Bradley Jardis for a
hearing before the board.

In a letter dated Oct. 26, Tom Gauthier, chairman of the board of
selectmen, wrote that the board turned down the request because it
wasn't "written, delivered or filed" in a timely manner.

Jardis is challenging Police Chief Gregory Dodge's decision last month
to uphold a six-day suspension brought against him in July. The
suspension followed an internal investigation into a dispute between
Jardis and then-Sgt. Sean Gallagher and an e-mail that Jardis sent to
police union members which police Lt. Michael Wallace felt contained
"inflammatory" language directed at him and Detective Richard Cote.

Jardis has claimed that he has been the target of harassment by
Gallagher and others at the police department since the New Hampshire
Sunday News published a story in February about his active role in Law
Enforcement Against Prohibition, an international nonprofit group that
supports the legalization of drugs.

Dodge and Gallagher have declined to comment on the situation, but a
letter from the town's attorney said the disciplinary action against
Jardis wasn't related to his involvement with LEAP.

The appeal came after Dodge sustained the suspension on Oct. 13
following a grievance hearing. Lawrence Vogelman, the attorney
representing Jardis, filed the appeal with selectmen on his behalf as
a union member on Oct. 19. However, Philip Pettis, the town's
attorney, wrote a letter on Oct. 22 saying that the town had rejected
the request for a hearing with selectmen because the contract between
the town and the police union states that only the union may appeal a
grievance on an employee's behalf.

The appeal must be made within five business days of the chief's
decision on the grievance. Jardis said he met the deadline, only it
was his lawyer who filed the appeal.

Pettis also pointed out that Jardis had rejected union representation
at the grievance hearing with the police chief.

Jardis said he felt "forced" to get his own attorney to represent him
because he didn't feel that the union president, Detective Cote, was
"effectively protecting" his rights.

In another attempt to get his hearing, Jardis contacted Richard
McFadden, the police union vice president, and asked that the union
file a grievance with selectmen. The grievance was filed on Oct. 23
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake