Laid-off officers denied recourse
By Dwayne Bremer
Mar 12, 2013, 19:34
Circuit Court Judge Roger Clark ruled last week that four Waveland police officers who were laid off in 2011 do not have the right to a civil service hearing.
Clark issued his ruling on a Writ of Mandamus, which was filed last year by WPD officers Mike Prendergast, Mac Cowand, and former officers Brett Ladner and Howard Parker.
The four officers were laid off in January 2011 as part of massive budget cuts the city instituted that year.
At the time, Prendergast was the assistant chief, Ladner was the captain of patrol; Parker was chief investigator; and Cowand was a lieutenant.
The officers sought to have a civil service hearing and in later court filings claimed their termination was "politically motivated."
Prendergast and Cowand were later rehired by the city, but at a significantly lower pay rate.
Parker and Ladner have since taken jobs elsewhere.
The officers had claimed that city ordinance 251 applied to their termination and they were entitled to an administrative hearing before the mayor and a review by the city's civil service commission.
In his ruling, Clark said the ordinance did not apply since the layoffs "resulted from a budgetary decision."
Clark said the officers did not have a right to a civil service hearing.
The officers also lost their rights to file a bill of exceptions because that action should have been done within ten days of the termination, Clark said.
Waveland Mayor David Garcia said Tuesday that he was aware of the ruling, but declined comment.