The City of Charlotte will pay about $12,000 in lost wages and attorney fees of more than $100,000 to a police sergeant following a judges ruling that the police department violated her due process rights when it took away her area commander job without a hearing.
The resolution comes two years after Tammy Hatley was bumped back to sergeant after having been designated as a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department response area commander, who concentrates on fighting crime in a specific section of the city. She has since retired from the department.
Hatley began working for CMPD in 1982 and was promoted to sergeant 16 years later, according to her lawsuit.
After Chief Rodney Monroe took over the department, Hatley became one of 39 response area commanders and was given a take-home car, new duties and a 7 percent pay increase. In a promotion ceremony, the new area commanders were given an insignia for their uniforms signifying an increased rank and responsibility, according to court documents.
Monroe ultimately sought to create the rank of lieutenant, documents said, but that effort stalled because of tight budgets.
In 2010, Hatley was transferred from her area commander job. She claimed her rights had been violated because she was not granted a review by a civilian review board, as required by CMPD directives.
The police department described the response area commander position as a temporary assignment. Hatley wasnt officially promoted, meaning that she couldnt have been demoted and wasnt owed a civil service board hearing, the police department said in court documents.
Last November, a judge ruled that the department acted unconstitutionally by not meeting the requirements of procedural due process, which include reasonable notice and an opportunity to be heard.
The judgment said damages to be awarded to Hatley would be determined at trial. A jury trial had been scheduled, but in May, Hatleys attorney filed court documents saying that the city had provided Hatley with the relief to which she was entitled and that a trial to determine damages was no longer necessary.
CMPD attorney Mark Newbold said Tuesday that the city paid Hatley about $12,000 in lost wages, plus any corresponding adjustments to retirement benefits.
On July 30, a judge ordered that the city also pay Hatleys attorney fees of $109,635, as well as $1,581 in taxable costs.
Newbold said the court ruling will not affect other response area commanders. But he said the department will take the courts findings into consideration when transferring employees under similar circumstances.
We opted to treat it as guidance from the court, he said. Staff writers Gary L. Wright and Cleve R. Wootson Jr. and researcher Maria David contributed.