Fired Santa Rosa police chief says he was wrongfully terminated
Fri, 12 Nov 2010 05:25:12 GMT —
More turmoil is brewing in the City of Santa Rosa, this time centering around the police chief's termination.
Chief Xavier Martinez and his attorney Preston Henrichson are calling the firing illegal.
"His been told he's been terminated, he's been told not to be there", said Henrichson.
But Martinez is fighting back appealing his termination.
"He wants to be reinstated, he wants to go back to work for the citizens of Santa Rosa", said Henrichson.
Action 4 News obtained a copy of Martinez's grievance submitted to the City of Santa Rosa back on November 10th.
The grievance alleges Alderman Erasmo Villanueva asking Chief Martinez to falsify a police report to protect a family member.
"For the benefit of the Alderman's brother, which he refused to do three days later he was terminated", said Henrichson.
The incident centered around a vehicle accident, where the driver was going the wrong way.
The grievance also names Alderman Oscar Ovalle.
Alleging Ovalle engaged in harassment and interfered with police officers duties.
Action 4 News obtained exclusive tapes of the alleged harassment against Santa Rosa police officers back in September.
Chief Martinez's attorney says his client was wrongfully terminated and the firing occurred as a result of a secret illegal meeting.
Bottom line Attorney Henrichson says the City of Santa Rosa violated the Open Meetings Act.
"Because there has been no meeting of the board of Alderman in connection with his termination", said Henrichson. "His status as a Chief has not been posted or is on the agenda."
Now the grievance is in the hands of the City of Santa Rosa, a response will be expected in the next several days.
At the end of all of this Chief Martinez just wants his job back.
"Chief Martinez is a serious dedicated police officer, he cares about the citizens of Santa Rosa", said Henrichson. "He cares about the officers he was working with and he wants to return to lead them. "
The Attorney for the City of Santa Rosa tells Action 4 News the city was not in violation of the Open Meetings Act.
Attorney Gilberto Hinojosa says the City Administrator has the authority to hire and fire at will employees.
He goes on to say the city is reviewing the grievance and will respond accordingly.