City to appeal Holliday ruling

PARKERSBURG -The city of Parkersburg will again appeal a decision by the Parkersburg Police Civil Service Commission that overturned the firing of Police Officer Floyd Holliday.

An appeal will be filed within the next few weeks following a judge’s order reopening the case for appeals, City Attorney Joe Santer said. The decision follows the filing of a Remand Order Jan. 18 by the Policy Civil Service Commission concerning its findings of facts in the Holliday case.

Holliday was fired by the city in June 2010 for the alleged theft of items after a traffic stop and for also allegedly downloading pornography onto another officer’s laptop computer.

In December 2010, the commission by a 2-1 vote overturned the firing. The commission did not dispute the alleged acts by Holliday, but stated “his conduct did not rise to the level to warrant termination.”

The city appealed the decision.

Holliday has been on paid leave for more than two years, collecting $36,000 a year plus benefits.

Last spring, Wood County Circuit Court Judge Jeff Reed returned the case to the commission to provide justification for its 2010 decision. The commission never responded as attorneys noted the commission is no longer comprised of the same three members who made the initial 2010 ruling.

In December, Reed ordered the commission to file its findings by Jan. 18. On Jan. 23, Reed sent a letter to attorneys for the city and Holliday in regard to the commission’s filing.

“Since this Remand Order represents additional findings of fact and conclusions of law to support the commission’s earlier decision, this court is of the opinion that the appeal rights and times as set out in West Virginia Code 8-14-20 should apply.”

That section of code allows 90 days to file an appeal, Santer said.

“We won’t take that long. I’m hoping to have something filed within the next few weeks,” Santer said. “The city does intend to challenge some of the findings the commission made and we will be filing a supplemental appeal.”

Santer declined to comment on the specific findings.

“I need to go through the transcript,” of the earlier hearing, he said. “My recollection is different than what some of their findings are, and I need to double check that my recollection is correct.”

The city action is no surprise to the Holliday camp.

“I fully expect the city to file an appeal,” said attorney George Cosenza, who is representing Holliday. “When he (Santer) files, we will respond.”

While he doesn’t believe the commission’s response contains new information, Cosenza said he believes it is a better explanation of how the commission reached its decision to overturn Holliday’s dismissal.

“I think their reasoning for ruling the way they did was more clearly presented,” he said.