Thursday, August 25, 2005

Southwest City settles with former police chief

Former Southwest City Police Chief Ron Beaudry has settled his wrongful dismissal lawsuit against city officials, according to a filing today in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri.
The document, filed by Beaudry's lawyer, Kirk D. Holman of Kansas City, says, the lawsuit "has been settled in its entirety and accordingly, the Court may make and enter its order dismissing this action." Both sides will handle their own costs, the document said.
No mention is made of what the amount or nature of the settlement was, though city officials will be legally required to reveal that information since the Missouri Legislature passed a law a few years back that requires any such settlement to be revealed since it involves taxpayer money. The bill was proposed by former State Rep. Mark Elliott after a case in which the Diamond R-4 Board of Education paid off a woman who was suing a superintendent for sexual harassment.
Beaudry brought his lawsuit against Southwest City after he was fired June 2, 2004, who was fired June 2, 2004, after he made an unsuccessful effort to fire police officer Toi Cannada.
Defendants in the lawsuit were the city of Southwest City, Mayor Al Dixon, and council members Farley Martin and Mildred Weaver. Beaudry noted in his petition that Ms. Cannada is Martin's stepdaughter.Beaudry was hired as police chief in June 2003, according to the petition. Ms. Canada was hired on a part-time basis last November. She was promoted to full-time status after a closed council meeting in March 2004, the petition says.
At that point, Beaudry conducted a background check and uncovered alcohol-related offenses, he said. "On March 12, 2004," the petition says, "(Beaudry) received a fax from Angela Heckart, a representative with Beimdiek Insurance Agency, regarding the insurability of Ms. Cannada." Ms. Heckart said Ms. Canada could not be insured because she had an alcohol-related driving offense in the three years before she was hired.On March 30, the city received a fax saying that Ms. Cannada was prohibited from using any city vehicle. At that point, Beaudry fired her. "On or about April 13, 2004," the petition said, "the city council refused to fire Canada, rehired her, and allowed her to operate her own vehicle to conduct police business."
On May 14, the council suspended Beaudry after he went public about his concerns about Ms. Canada, the petition said. On June 2, he was fired.In the petition, Beaudry claimed his First Amendment free speech rights were violated by the city officials.

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