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Ex-deputy's case will be heard
Civil service board agrees to hold hearing
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Forsyth County News

A deputy fired from the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office hopes to get his job back through a civil service board hearing scheduled for next month.

The three-member panel voted unanimously on Thursday to hold an appeal hearing for Walter Skowronski on July 11, following its next regular meeting.

Skowronski was fired on April 26 after a sheriff’s office internal affairs investigation found him in violation of conduct unbecoming of an officer, neglect of duty, requirement to read, understand and comply with off-duty employment orders, and violation of law for criminal attempt to commit theft and false statements in writing.

A letter from Capt. Mark Hoffman on April 24 states the finding for disciplinary action was Skowronski’s fifth in three years.

“It shows a pattern of bad decisions and a lack of following the basic guidelines provided in policy,” Hoffman wrote to Maj. Paul Taylor, head of the enforcement division.

His termination stemmed from a March 15 incident at an off-duty security job for The Avenue Forsyth, now called The Collection at Forsyth.

Skowronski failed to check in to the job as required, arrived late without notifying the manager and didn’t properly log the hours he worked, according to the sheriff’s office.

His written appeal states that he accidentally handed in a pre-filled time sheet because he was in a hurry to write four reports and process a juvenile felony arrest, which he stated also caused him to be late to the off-duty job.

The appeal continues: “I understand that I was looking at a suspension for failing to call out on the radio, failing to check in with the security office, and mistakenly handing in an incomplete and incorrect form. I do not feel that a dismissal was warranted.”

Skowronski was fired about two weeks after he received an eight-hour suspension for a separate incident, according to his personnel file.

The office found him in violation of policy regarding evidence on April 12.

According to agency documentation, Skowronski confiscated suspected marijuana on March 21, but it wasn’t submitted.

On March 30, when his supervisor questioned him about it, Skowronski searched his trunk and located the missing evidence.

Skowronski also received disciplinary action in 2012 for violation of “professional image” in July and a January policy violation for “conduct unbecoming” of an officer.

In 2011, he received warnings for failure to attend a required training and being “verbally abusive” to a co-worker.

His personnel file also shows that he earned above average performance reviews in all his annual evaluations since being hired in 2008.

In addition, Skowronski received two letters of commendation for exemplary responses in emergency situations in 2008 and 2009.

He was promoted in March 2010 from deputy sheriff 2 to deputy first class.

His appeal hearing is scheduled to take place a day after a motion to dismiss should be heard in court for a case of 11 terminated deputies.

The deputies have asked a judge to order the civil service board to hear their appeal to reinstate their jobs, and Forsyth County filed a motion to dismiss the case, which is scheduled for July 10.

All three Forsyth County Superior court judges have recused themselves from the matter, and a visiting judge has not yet been assigned.

The 11 former employees were cut from the agency during a restructuring of the office in Feburary.

The county contends that the employees were laid off, which does not allow for an appeal under civil service rules.

The former deputies and their attorney disagree that the agency’s reorganization was a proper reduction in force, and also alleges procedural violations in cutting the positions.