Arbitration Does Little to Change Status of Lakeland, Florida Officer
It has been more than a month since an arbitrator ruled that Lakeland police officer David Woolverton had been mistreated and deserved to be paid and offered overtime pay and the city of Lakeland police department has still failed to take action.
According to an attorney for the West Central Florida Benevolent Association, “Absolutely nothing has happened.”
The dispute began when Officer Woolverton was demoted for his role in a sex scandal in 2013. He was fired, but appealed the termination to an arbitrator and was reinstated with the demotion, earning less money and losing all opportunities for overtime work and pay. Woolverton then appealed that ruling, part of which was overruled in July. The arbitrator determined Woolverton should be eligible for overtime work and pay, but still remain in the demoted position.
City Attorney Tim McCausland said the City Manager is still considering an appeal of the latest ruling, but will be resigning his position on September 13, 2014.
To date, the city has spent nearly $50,000 in legal fees battling the Woolverton case. Thomas has stated publicly that he does not believe Woolverton was mistreated and that the demotion was the best option based on the details of the situation. He further stated the demotion and loss of overtime is not credible evidence that he or the city was retaliating, but that the city found itself in a difficult position when the original arbitrator overruled Woolverton’s termination and reinstated him as a police officer. Woolverton has previously been the rank of sergeant when he was dismissed.