June 5 public hearing on grievances will proceed

Staff Writer

The public hearing scheduled for June 5 on grievances filed by Broken Bow police officers against Broken Bow Mayor Jon Berghorst will proceed as scheduled.

An attorney for Mayor Berghorst had written a letter, dated May 10, 2019, to the City stating the Mayor’s position that the officers were not entitled to a hearing because they had not been removed, demoted or suspended.

In a memo dated May 16, 2019, City Attorney Jason White responded to the May 10 letter, writing “to confine the grievance procedure to just removal, demotion and suspension would effectively deny our police officers due process on any other matter.” The memo also states that the City could be exposed to a possible suit for denying a constitutionally protected right. The memo was addressed to the Mayor, his attorney, the police officers and members of the Broken Bow City Council. A copy of the memo was obtained by the Custer County Chief through Public Information statues.

The memo further states that the fifth step of the grievance process, a public hearing, is “to give them (the police officers) an avenue for due process for ‘any grievance,’” and to deny the officers the hearing would “be contrary to the intent of the City to provide ‘fair and efficient means’ to resolve grievances.’”

The public hearing is set for Wednesday, June 5, at 7 p.m. at the Municipal Building in Broken Bow.

An official notice for the hearing can be found on page B4, "Notice of Special Meeting City of Broken" in this week's Chief (the May 23, 2019 issue).