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Fired CCSD cop wins reinstatement with $197K in back pay

The Clark County School District police lieutenant who was fired after he revealed himself as an FBI informant will be reinstated to his same position with more than two years retroactive pay, an arbitrator clarified last week.

Dan Burgess must be reinstated to the position of lieutenant with pay and benefits from March 27, 2015 — the date of his firing — according to arbitrator Sara Adler’s order. The arbitrator wrote that she cannot competently calculate the amount of pay, but Burgess’ attorney, Adam Levine, argued it’s in excess of $197,000.

It’s a clarification of a previous ruling that found the district wrongfully fired Burgess, who was among several officers who cooperated with the FBI to uncover corruption within the police department.

Yet the district argued that Burgess was working on probationary status as a lieutenant at the time of his firing, according to Burgess and his attorney. Probationary employees can be terminated with or without cause.

“The union has made a compelling argument that grievant was not on probation as a lieutenant and that the school administrator form which suggests a one-year contract was his only employment relationship with the district was void,” Adler wrote in her order dated May 8.

Levine said the district wasted taxpayer dollars by refusing to acknowledge that they did not have cause to terminate Burgess.

“They should’ve put him back the minute (the arbitrator) found that he did nothing wrong,” Levine said. “And every day that they delay is another day that they’re squandering tax dollars that are better used to support the school district (and) its mission of teaching students.”

A district spokeswoman said in a statement that the employee dispute was sent to arbitration for resolution, per the negotiated agreement.

“The arbitrator issued an opinion and the district is considering its next action,” the statement read.

If Burgess does not receive his pay within 30 days of the award, the district must pay 5 percent interest, the arbitrator ordered.

“I look forward to getting back to work and rejoining my colleagues,” Burgess said in a statement.

Meanwhile, a federal lawsuit from Burgess and Sgt. Anthony Russo continues against the district, Associate Superintendent Edward Goldman, former internal investigator Christopher Klemp and Police Chief James Ketsaa.

That lawsuit claims that Burgess and Russo were not given a fair hearing over their termination. It also claims that the district retaliated against Burgess for his cooperation with the FBI.

Russo was previously terminated after he was charged with DUI and battery in 2015, but later won his job back through arbitration.

Contact Amelia Pak-Harvey at apak-harvey@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4630. Follow @AmeliaPakHarvey on Twitter.

 

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