NEWS RELEASE 6/2/2011
|CITY AWAITS DECISION IN CITIZENS SERVICES BUREAU ARBITRATION|
Flint, Michigan - May 31, 2011 - the City of Flint is awaiting the decision of a three member arbitration panel that will decide the consolidated lawsuits of forty-eight current and former Flint police officers. The officers allege racial discrimination by former mayor Donald Williamson and his administration. The arbitrator's written decision could be issued any day, but is expected by no later than July 1st.
The lawsuits arise from Williamson's decision in 2006 to form the Citizens Services Bureau within the Flint Police Department, with five individuals selected to serve as inspectors.
The officers claim the Citizens Services Bureau was an election year ploy by Williamson aimed at currying support with black voters, and that the selection process was unfair, violating their civil rights. It is noted that one of Williamson's selections was David Dicks, son of the then fire chief. Two years earlier Dicks was fired for a drunken driving arrest in Flint Township where he crossed the centerline and struck an on-coming vehicle. Dicks was later convicted of fraud in a federal criminal prosecution.
The officers seek over $10 million dollars in damages for lost wages, lost pension entitlement, emotional distress and attorney fees. Mr. Williamson is a named defendant in the lawsuit. The officers seek punitive damages against him, which if awarded, would be his responsibility to pay.
The arbitration decision will culminate years of litigation in both state and federal courts. Flint City Attorney Pete Bade remains hopeful the city will prevail, but said "even if we win, we've incurred an enormous amount of legal expenses and this has been a huge distraction. This is yet another mess we've been left to clean up from the prior administration - and it was an avoidable mess."
Peter M. Bade, Chief Legal Officer
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