The Clark County School District’s police union has filed against the district’s police chief a complaint alleging he made inappropriate comments about a federal mediator and simulated a kick to her backside as she walked out of a bargaining room last month.
Superintendent Walt Rulffes said the person named in the complaint would be removed from the bargaining table. He would not name the person, but sources familiar with the incident identified District Police Chief Hector Garcia.
Rulffes said that the district official apologized to the federal mediator, who was involved in contract talks between the union and the district.
“He has apologized for any misunderstanding and anything he said that was inappropriate,” Rulffes said. “He felt the matter was resolved, but nevertheless, we will not have that person at the negotiation table anymore.”
Garcia, 41, would not comment about the complaint Monday and directed questions to Bill Hoffman, the district’s attorney. Calls to Hoffman were not returned Monday.
Representatives of the district and the Police Officers Association met May 22 at the district’s administrative center, 5100 W. Sahara Ave. The contract for officers expires June 30.
A written complaint by an attorney representing the district’s police union alleged that Garcia was overheard saying, “I can’t stand that bitch. I’m going to get rid of her. I can’t believe we are paying her,” in reference to a mediator from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.
Garcia’s name and the name of the mediator were concealed in the letter. The identity of the mediator was unclear Monday.
The complaint alleged that Garcia also said during the same meeting that he was “going to X her” in response to the mediator, who said she was going to “X” an issue off a worksheet.
Witnesses said the mediator was referring to an item that the district and the union were no longer at odds over.
The letter also alleged that Garcia was seen making an ugly face and trying to kick the federal employee in the buttocks area. The simulated kick happened as Garcia was walking behind the mediator as they were exiting the bargaining room, witnesses said.
The witnesses were unsure which comments the federal mediator overheard but said she was in the room for some of Garcia’s remarks.
One source who asked to remain anonymous said that Garcia’s kick would have hit the woman if she had stopped walking.
“She didn’t see the kick, but everybody who was in the room saw it,” the witness said.
“There was no way to explain the kick. That was totally inappropriate,” said John Doran, a representative of the Communication Workers of America, a parent union of the district’s police union, who was in the room during the bargaining session.
“All of this is inappropriate behavior on school property. In today’s work environment, it’s hostile. If this was a teacher against a student, there would be action taken immediately.”
Doran spoke at the School Board meeting late Thursday evening and said the district had yet to take action almost 10 days after receiving the complaint.
Rulffes rejected the notion that the official had received preferential treatment.
Garcia was hired as the district’s police chief in February 2005. His salary is $107,916.