West Buechel: The Cop Who Wasn’t There

In Rick Richards’ second week in office as the newly elected Mayor, in January, 2015, the employment of a probationary West Buechel Police Officer was terminated by him, for reasons unknown.  It’s not really necessary to have cause to terminate a probationary Police Officer. The Police Officer’s Bill of Rights does not apply to probationers during the first six months of employment.

Nonetheless, this particular Police Officer felt aggrieved and claimed the firing was retaliatory against her efforts to expose criminal wrongdoing by another Police Officer. In addition, she claimed sexual harassment and she threatened to sue the City.

So, Mayor Richards settled her claim. See: Can a mayor compromise a lawsuit? 

This is how the settlement was structured.

(1) She was given a check for the difference between the unemployment compensation she actually received and the net pay she would have received had she remained on the payroll from January to the middle of April, 2015.

(2) She was put back on the payroll at full pay, as if she were a genuine City employee, through the end of 2015. She never actually reported for work during that time.

(3) She received full health insurance coverage paid for by the City for all of 2015, as if she were an actual employee.

(4) She received full CERS retirement contribution from the City (17% – 18% of gross pay). as if she were an actual employee.

Combining all that with Social Security and Medicare employer tax contributions, this settlement agreement cost the City about $50,000.

This is how the settlement was managed by Mayor Rick Richards.

(1) The settlement was never properly documented or formalized. The terminated employee accepted the benefits of the settlement, but she never signed a written settlement agreement.

(2) The City Council was never consulted or informed of the settlement, and there was no budget authorization for it. It was a secret deal.

(3) The expense of the settlement was buried in the payroll budget, the CERS retirement contribution budget and the employee health insurance budget.

So, it was a secret deal deceptively disguised, which involved the falsification of every City financial report issued by Mayor Rick Richards for 2015.

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