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Former Prescott cops sue city

Two former Prescott police officers are suing the city in hopes of getting their jobs back.

The suit, filed Oct. 16 in Pierce County Circuit Court, seeks a reversal of the decision that left former officers Bryan Massman and Ryan Most out of work with the city of Prescott.

"The decision was arbitrary, unreasonable and oppressive," according to the lawsuit.

City Administrator Jayne Brand said Monday, Nov. 6, that the city had been served that day with the lawsuit and had no comment.

Massman and Most were fired in August as probationary employees for what was termed at the time by Interim Police Chief Rob Funk as "ongoing job performance issues." A third former police department employee, Most's wife Erin Most, was also fired at the time. She is not party to the lawsuit.

It was later revealed through an open records request that Funk recommended their dismissal to the Prescott Police Commission amid problems with officer conduct, insubordination and unsecure weapons.

According to the lawsuit, the former officers weren't made aware of the Aug. 7 police commission meeting that decided their fate and weren't given a chance to contest the allegations. They were fired by Funk the next day.

After the firings were handed down, Funk told the men to file a grievance, which the lawsuit states was done timely, but was struck down by the city on Sept. 14. The lawsuit states the former officers are petitioning the court since the city's "unilateral" action allowed for no other recourse.

According to the lawsuit, the city breached a labor agreement spelling out a particular process for terminations. That process also requires the city show a cause for termination, according to the allegations.

In addition to a reversal of the city's decision, the lawsuit also seeks any additional relief from the courts. The plaintiffs got approval to replace Pierce County Circuit Court Judge Joe Boles from the case. Buffalo-Pepin County Judge Robert Duvall was appointed to hear the matter.

No court date has been set yet in the case.

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is a regional/enterprise reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage includes St. Croix County government, higher education and state politics in Wisconsin. 

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