CLEVELAND, Tenn.—The Tennessee Court of Appeals has issued a ruling favorable to the city, the latest step in a three-year dispute between former Cleveland police detective Duff Brumley and his employer.
In its Thursday ruling, the appeals court in Knoxville found that a lower court did not err in its decision against Brumley and that the city manager “did not act arbitrarily or capriciously” when he ordered Brumley to take training in interpersonal skills.
Attempts to reach Brumley’s attorney, Gerald Tidwell, were unsuccessful Friday.
Cleveland City Manager Janice Casteel’s only comment Friday was that she is pleased with the court’s finding.
On Dec. 16, 2008, Brumley investigated a burglary at a local attorney’s office. Two days later, an employee of the attorney sent a letter to Cleveland Police Chief Wes Snyder complaining about Brumley’s performance during his investigation at the office.
Her letter said Brumley had been negligent and directed suspicions at her. Two men later were arrested and charged in the burglary.
Brumley was asked to undergo 28 days of retraining to improve his interpersonal and communications skills. A plainclothes detective at the time, he also was ordered to wear a uniform during the retraining.
Brumley filed a grievance that was reviewed by his supervisor, Snyder and the city’s Human Resources Committee before he filed his appeal with Casteel. He claimed Snyder was biased against him.
On February 23, 2009, Casteel upheld the retraining.
“I also request that you accept this training as offered — a way to improve your skills in dealing with our public. As employees of the City of Cleveland, we are all public servants,” Casteel wrote to Brumley.
Brumley took the case to Chancery Court in Bradley County, which ruled on Jan. 8, 2010 that “there was material evidence to support the action of the City of Cleveland in this case.”
On March 17, 2010, Chancery Court denied Brumley’s motion to reconsider the ruling.
Randall Higgins covers news in Cleveland, Tenn., for the Times Free Press. He started work with the Chattanooga Times in 1977 and joined the staff of the Chattanooga Times Free Press when the Free Press and Times merged in 1999. Randall has covered Southeast Tennessee, Northwest Georgia and Alabama. He now covers Cleveland and Bradley County and the neighboring region. Randall is a Cleveland native. He has bachelor’s degree from Tennessee Technological University. His awards ...