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Board overturns deputy's suspension

'Double jeopardy' cited in decision

POSTED: August 24, 2012 5:30 a.m.
 

The Forsyth County Civil Service Board reversed the suspension of a sheriff’s deputy in a decision announced Thursday.

According to the ruling signed by Chairman Terry Smith, the three member panel overturned Sgt. Scott Wilson’s eight-hour suspension for neglect of duty due to his receiving “the employment equivalent of double jeopardy.”

Wilson was reprimanded based on a March 10 incident that occurred while he was working off-duty private security at the Coo Coo’s Nest restaurant.

He appealed the discipline in June following the agency’s internal review.

The civil service board decision states that Wilson and another deputy broke up an altercation by escorting a man out of the eatery, during which a woman was allegedly injured.

As a result, Wilson got a written reprimand for failure to file a report and an eight-hour suspension for neglect of duty.

According to the board’s decision, “The factual basis of both disciplines is the same: you failed to write a report. Thus, for the same act (not writing a report), you received two different disciplinary sanctions under two different policies …

“While your action of failing to write a report may warrant disciplinary action, it is neither fair nor consistent to receive two different disciplines for the same act.”

The board’s findings also noted that the other deputy, of a lower rank, received no discipline.

Wilson thanked the board for reviewing the documentation provided in the new written position statement appeal process.

As part of the process, the board does not hold a full hearing for discipline measures of an eight-hour suspension or less.

The move was intended to allow a shorter appeal process, but the board commented that “if [Wilson’s] appeal is any indication, it would have been more efficient to just have a hearing.”

The decision also addressed the “limitation” of the new format.

“There may have been some explanation for the way the [sheriff’s] letter was written that would have resulted in a different conclusion,” the decision states.

The board also addressed Wilson’s written comments that his discipline was based on his support of Duane Piper, who this week defeated incumbent Ted Paxton in the election for sheriff.

“There was insufficient evidence in the documentation submitted to the board to make a ruling on this allegation,” the decision reads. “However, it is not necessary for the board to even reach this question based upon the reversal.”

Wilson declined to comment after the meeting, citing a sheriff’s office policy that he cannot speak to the media without written approval.

 

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