A few weeks ago I asked why fired Parkersburg police Officer Floyd Holliday still was drawing a salary and benefits at the taxpayers' expense?
At that time the fault seemed to fall to the Wood County Circuit Court for not holding a hearing or issuing a decision on a city of Parkersburg appeal of a Civil Service Commission decision that reinstated the officer after he was fired.
The officer initially was fired for downloading porn on a city laptop computer, taking evidence for his personal use and lying about it.
The then-commission of Bill Campbell, an attorney appointed by the city; Jack Hunley, a retired police officer appointed by the Fraternal Order of Police; and Jeff Bungard, appointed by the Chamber of Commerce of the Mid-Ohio Valley, voted 2-1 to reverse Holliday's firing.
While not disputing Holliday's improper actions, the commission in its misguided opinion contended Holliday's "conduct did not rise to the level to warrant termination."
Subsequently, the Chamber last week named Doug Kreinik as its replacement for Bungard on the commission.
Last May, Holliday's attorney requested the officer be given back pay from June 2010, when he initially was fired, to December 2010, which would include all insurance, vacation, sick leave and attorney fees. Wood County Circuit Court Judge J.D. Beane granted the motion with the mayor saying civil service law mandates employees be paid until a case is completed, which is why the taxpayers have had to keep paying.
In March 2011, the city of Parkersburg appealed to circuit court the commission's decision and there it has sat since then.
We wondered why Beane had not made a decision in the far-too-long of a drawn-out series of events.
Thursday we got an answer.
According to court officials, the city of Parkersburg filed a "petition" relating to an appeal but had never filed an actual case brief outlining its position, its evidence, etc., concerning why it acted as it did, why it believes the commission overstepped its bounds and why Holliday should be terminated.
Why has it taken so many months to file the brief?
In addition to the city brief, court officials were also awaiting a transcript of the City Service Commission hearing involving Holliday. It seems beyond ridiculous for it to take that long to provide an audio tape or its transcription.
None of the issues involving the brief not being presented by the city, even though Holliday's attorney had filed his brief long ago, came forward until Beane recused himself from the case after purportedly talking about it with people he later found out were related to Holliday, thus tainting his judicial impartiality.
Mayor Bob Newell said the city's brief would be filed Dec. 9, which means Circuit Court Judge Jeff Reed, now assigned to the appeal, would have the documentation necessary to render a decision. Hopefully that decision will come quickly.
A year's worth of feet-dragging seems beyond comprehension ... and has cost the taxpayers of Parkersburgs thousands of dollars in salary and benefits being paid to someone who has been providing zero service to the city and its citizens for a year as he sat collecting pay for doing nothing on the job.
Contact Jim Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org