Monday, November 18, 2013

Lawsuit: Stafford Police Sergeant alleges bias and retaliation.

On March 13, 2013, a sergeant with the Stafford Township (Ocean County) Police Department sued the Department, former Mayor James McMenamin, Township Administrator James Moran, Police Chief Joseph Giberson, III and Police Lieutenant Thomas J. Dellane for retaliating against him because he was not politically aligned with McMenamin and Giberson.

In his suit, a copy of which is on-line here (Linck v. Stafford, Docket No. OCN-L-734-13), Sergeant John L. Linck, said that he was politically aligned and allies with former Police Chiefs Thomas B. Conroy, who retired in 2010, and Larry D. Parker who retired in 2005.  He said that McMenamin, who previously was a Stafford police lieutenant, is politically aligned with Chief Giberson and that McMenamin and Giberson "were on the politically opposite sides of the fence" from Parker and Conroy.

Linck claims that after Conroy's retirement, he was transferred from his position as an administrative sergeant to working the road on the midnight shift, despite there being two sergeants with less seniority who worked the day shift. 

He further alleges that Giberson and Dellane refused to allow him to take a make-up of the "Chief's test" component of a three part exam in which he and six other officers were competing for promotion to lieutenant.  Linck claims that on the day of the "Chief's test," he was bedridden with bronchitis and influenza and that the refusal to allow a make-up was unreasonable given the fact that another officer, Michael Korpon, was allowed to take a make-up when he was ill in 2008.

Linck also claims that he was improperly given a lower evaluation than Sergeant James Vaughn even though he had ranked number one in productivity during 2012 while Vaughn scored last in productivity.  He alleges that the unfair way in which the test was scored, along with Giberson's refusal to let him take a make-up test, caused him to score seventh out of the seven candidates vying for the promotion.  He further claims that Giberson refused to evaluate his performance during the three years prior to the promotional test, causing him getting a lower score than he ought to have received.