Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Hearing scheduled in Winchester police chief's lawsuit against town

By ALYSSA DANDREA Sentinel Staff

Two months after Winchester’s police chief was denied an early judgment in the lawsuit he brought against the town, attorneys are scheduled to meet Thursday to discuss how the case will proceed.
Attorneys for the town and its police chief, Gary A. Phillips, failed outside of court to agree on deadlines for when evidence, such as reports, pretrial motions and exhibits, must be submitted, and have not yet indicated whether a trial is likely. Thursday’s compliance hearing before Cheshire County Superior Court Judge John C. Kissinger Jr. will address those pending issues.
Phillips, who has served as chief since 2005, filed the lawsuit against the town in September after selectmen voted to suspend him without pay for three days. He argues that state law requires selectmen to have provided him with written notification of their intent to vote on his suspension prior to taking action.
But the town maintains police chiefs aren’t entitled to advance notice. Instead, they’re told why they’re being suspended or terminated, and then are allowed to appeal the decision to superior court, according to the town’s attorney, Andrew B. Livernois of Concord.

Selectmen suspended Phillips after they allege he made a retaliatory threat against then-Winchester police Officer Brooke Sharra during a nonpublic meeting of the board in August. Sharra was not at that meeting; rather, selectmen held it with Phillips to discuss his work performance.

Selectmen next met in a nonpublic meeting Sept. 9 and voted to suspend Phillips for three days — Sept. 21 through Sept. 23 — without pay. They provided Phillips with the reasons for their decision in a letter dated Sept. 10.
He unsuccessfully appealed his decision to the board days later, and then took his case to court.

Alyssa Dandrea can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1435, or adandrea@keenesentinel.com. Follow her on Twitter @ADandreaKS.

Doesn't it make you wonder why almost every story in the paper regarding Winchester is about  another lawsuit vs. the town ?


Anonymous said...

Two things come to mind, one the Sharra family continues to cost this town, and the arrogance of the police these days. Its a no win for Winchester and another black eye, maybe we need a change of leadership.

shaking my head said...

Wasn't the chiefs comments in regards to the unprofessional way a certain road agent's accident was handled? Reading the minutes of that public meeting I saw no arrogance by the chief or threat to anyone by him, simply a statement that he was tasked with doing his duty as a chief, the one in charge. Guess, those on the board at the time wear different colored glasses when it comes to certain people in this town.

Anonymous said...

I have always found Chief Phillips to be an exemplary Chief. I have had many occassions to see him handle situations in a professional compassionate and personal way. He has never in my estimation done anything but carry out the law. I doubt very much if he would have treated Brooke Sherra in less than what was called for. I have witnessed his handling of some very tough situations and he went above and beyind in all of the situations. I was also in a bad accident here in town and he was the first on the scene.