Former Police Chief Unsucessful In Appealing Termination of Employment

Former Police Chief Unsucessful In Appealing Termination of Employment Featured

By / Local News / Friday, 29 May 2015 04:00

By: Willard H. Killough III
Managing Editor

CAROLINA BEACH - Carolina Beach Town Manager Michael Cramer said a decision to terminate the employment of Police Chief Ken Hinkle on May 7th, will not be reversed following an appeal filed by Hinkle and his attorney Barry Henline.

Hinkle was placed on "Non disciplinary suspension with pay pending an investigation" Wednesday morning April 15th. The Town Council met in closed session for over two hours the previous night during their regular monthly meeting. Following that closed session Mayor Dan Wilcox announced that no action had been taken.

Cramer said, "Chief Hinkle was placed on non disciplinary suspension with pay pending an investigation" but said due to personnel privacy laws he was not able to release the details of what led to the decision to suspend Hinkle.

Harry Humphries is serving as Interim Police Chief. The Town will now begin the search for a new police chief.

On Friday May 29th, Barry K. Henline issued a press release stating, "On Wednesday April 15, 2015 Carolina Beach Police Chief Ken Hinkle was suspended with pay by Town Manager Michael Cramer as part of a non-disciplinary investigation.  The investigation was completed and Town Manager Cramer reached a decision in regards to Chief Hinkle’s status as Chief of Police for the Town of Carolina Beach. On Friday May 8, 2015 my client, Ken Hinkle, was informed by Town Manager Cramer that his employment with the Town of Carolina Beach was terminated immediately.  While Chief Hinkle was greatly disappointed with the decision made, and began the process of appealing Town Manager Cramer’s decision."

Henline explained, "On Friday May 29, 2015 my client, Ken Hinkle was informed by Town Manager Michael Cramer that his appeal of his termination of employment with the Town of Carolina Beach was considered. Mr. Hinkle was provided an appeal hearing by a neutral third party attorney who heard the appeal and who was to report his findings to Town Manager Cramer. Mr. Cramer has indicated he would not reverse his decision and upheld his decision to terminate Mr. Hinkle. This completes the appeal options available to Mr. Hinkle pursuant to Carolina Beach Town policy. Mr. Hinkle was again very disappointed and he and I will be discussing his other available options in the coming days. Please direct all questions to my law firm and we will answer any questions that we feel are appropriate to discuss at this time.  Given this matter has the potential to bring about civil litigation we cannot discuss any specifics of the allegations or the evidence to support or refute these allegations.  I would respectfully request that no members of the media contact Mr. Hinkle at his home or by phone.  Again, please direct all questions or requests for comment from Mr. Hinkle to my law firm."

Background:

In a letter to Chief Hinkle dated May 7th, Michael Cramer wrote, “Effective immediately, your employment with the Town of Carolina Beach is terminated. This decision is based on your: 1. Poor performance in complying with rules and regulations necessary for the proper administration of the police department. 2. Failure to abide by the Town of Carolina Beach Personnel Policy. 3. Insubordination or a stated refusal to perform assigned duties or a flagrant violation of work rules and regulations.”

The letter stated, “You will be paid through the end of the May 7th, 2015 work day. You will receive your final paycheck in the form of a direct deposit from the Town on May 14th, 2015. This payment of direct deposit will include any accrued unused vacation time. You will receive additional communications from the Human Resources department with regard to employee benefits and retirement programs. Please be advised that, if eligible, you may appeal your termination through Article X. Grievance Procedure and Adverse Action Appeal of the Town of Carolina Beach Personnel Policy dated February 14, 2012 and revised June 24, 2013.”

Hinkle was hired by the Town in November 2013 to replace outgoing chief Kurt Bartley. A release from the Town at the time of announcing his employement stated, “Chief Hinkle brings 30 plus years of policing experience most recently from the Village of Obetz, Ohio, where he worked as Police Chief for over five years. He has extensive knowledge of the principles and practices of community policing and developing strong relationships with business owners, residents and tourists."

According to the Village of Obetz website Chief Ken Hinkle began as the Chief of Obetz in October, 2007 after serving 27 years in law enforcement with the United States Air Force and the Newark Division of Police in Newark, Ohio. Chief Hinkle holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Ohio University in Criminal Justice. He is a graduate of the Police Executive Leadership College (PELC) and the Certified Law Enforcement Executive program (CLEE).

Hinkle also served as the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police President (OACP) and was on the Executive Board for 5 years. As the OACP President Chief Hinkle served as a liaison between Ohio Chiefs and other statewide stakeholders in law enforcement. Hinkle was also a member of the School Safety Task Force and Special Needs Task Force.

Hinkle and his wife Gina have three grown children.

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