May 15, 2013

Cumberland County faulted for demoting veteran detective

Gerard Brady's punishment is ruled 'excessive' and he is reinstated to his position in the Sheriff's Office.

By Eric Russell erussell@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

A detective in the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office has been reinstated to his position because of an arbitrator's ruling that the county took excessive disciplinary action against him last year.

Gerard Brady was disciplined for violations of department policies and his outside-employment agreement. The county said Brady improperly directed clients to his private polygraph business and conducted private business while on duty for the sheriff's department.

Brady's attorney, Jonathan Goodman, said the county initially sought to prosecute Brady on felony charges but the District Attorney's Office and the Attorney General's Office would not take the case.

The allegations against Brady were then forwarded to the Maine Criminal Justice Academy to determine whether Brady's actions warranted revoking his law enforcement certification. The academy rejected the case as well.

Brady was then demoted by Sheriff Kevin Joyce from detective to patrol deputy. Brady filed a grievance, which was denied, then filed to bring in an outside arbitrator.

That arbitrator, John Alfano, found that Brady committed two minor policy violations but ruled that the county did not have just cause to demote him.

The violations were conducting a private polygraph during a day that he took off from work because of a recurring back problem, and dropping off a private polygraph report in Windham while he was on duty in the area.

Alfano said the demotion was "excessive," considering Brady's 34 years of employment and 20 years as a detective in good standing.

Brady issued a statement Wednesday through his attorney.

"I have no issue whatsoever with Mr. Alfano's determination that I should get a written reprimand," he said. "It has been my position since day one that I deserved a written reprimand. I did not deserve what was done to me by the county, the sheriff and the chief deputy."

Brady has sued the county, claiming that it retaliated against him for complaining about an alleged assault on a county jail inmate and for saying that he would support a political opponent of Joyce. That lawsuit, filed in early April, is pending.

In the lawsuit, Brady says his reassignment contributed to a mental breakdown and he has been out of work since then. It was not clear Wednesday if or when he would return to his job.

Patricia Dunn, an attorney representing Cumberland County, declined to comment on the decision.

Asked whether reinstating Brady would create problems in the department, Dunn said "that's just one of those things you have to deal with."

 

Eric Russell can be contacted at 791-6344 or at:

erussell@pressherald.com

Twitter: @PPHEricRussell

 

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