Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Brunswick Police Sue to Receive Pay Raise; 6 Were Promoted without Authorization, Official Says

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Brunswick Police Sue to Receive Pay Raise; 6 Were Promoted without Authorization, Official Says

Article excerpt

Byline: Terry Dickson

BRUNSWICK | City Manager Jim Drumm said in February that Police Chief Kevin Jones' promoted of six officers to corporal without the proper authorization and that their only recourse may be to sue the city.

The officers took that route with a suit filed Friday in Glynn County Superior Court in which they demand their raises to $18.69 an hour, back pay and legal fees.

After an exchange of text messages with Drumm last year, Jones sent each of the six officers a letter in November congratulating them on their promotions. Drumm later said that the promotions would cost $30,000 over the course of the budget year.

The officers filed a grievance under the city's personnel policy, but Drumm declined to reverse himself.

In explaining his stand, Drumm told the officers he had not officially approved Jones' plan, that the officers were never actually promoted and that there had been a misunderstanding between him and Jones.

Among the exhibits the officers are standing on are an exchange of text messages on Nov. 5 in which Jones told Drumm there were two officers on the drug squad and four detectives eligible for promotion to corporal.

In two return text messages, Drumm replayed, "Ok," and "Set up the paperwork."

In letters dated eight days later, Jones congratulated the officers on their promotions.

"You have demonstrated exceptional qualities as a leader, and we are proud of you,'' he wrote. "I wish you all the best in your new position***Congrats and good luck,'' he wrote in the letters that went into personnel files.

The letters were dated the same day as a public ceremony to honor the officers, the suit says, but it was only when the officers saw their Nov. 27 paychecks, which included no salary increases, did they know they had not been promoted.

In their suit, the officers, Paul George, Erik Hartshorn, Stephan Lowrey, Carla Futch, Alan Wainwright and Terrence Tanner, assert that Drumm and Jones had met earlier on Nov. …

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