CHAPEL HILL – A Chapel Hill Police Officer is asking to be reinstated after being terminated for taking sick days during a family vacation.
“The argument we were making to personnel appeals committee was that there was not just cause to support a discharge,” Payne says. “There was just cause to support something like a two-day suspension, which in fact is what the command staff recommended.”
That’s Travis Payne of the Raleigh-based law firm Edelstein and Payne. He represents Cpl. Chris King who, once asked, admitted to using sick days for a vacation in April.
Upon discovery, his supervisor suggested King be suspended for a day or two, but Chief Chris Blue made the decision to fire him stating his credibility as an officer was unclear after that action.
King appeared before the personnel appeals committee on Wednesday with his lawyer, Payne to ask that he be reinstated. However, Payne says that committee is not the final stop in the process.
“Their decision is not a decision,” Payne says. “It’s a recommendation. It then goes to the town manager who has final says.”
Payne says the decision is likely a month away from being delivered.
“They have 14 days to do that (before we hear from them) given that they all have day jobs,” Payne says. “And then I forget how many days the manager has after he gets that. I would presume another 10 or 14 days for the manager to make his final decision.”
Chief Blue told WCHL that neither he nor anyone else in the department is able to speak about the personnel matter.