City officials make move to impeach Miner police chief

A special meeting with Griggs and the Board of Aldermen was held on Monday night (Source:...
A special meeting with Griggs and the Board of Aldermen was held on Monday night (Source: Isabelle Hanson, KFVS)((Source: Isabelle Hanson, KFVS))
Published: Mar. 11, 2019 at 10:37 PM CDT
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MINER, MO (KFVS) - The Board of Alderman held a special hearing on Monday, March 11, 2019 to consider impeaching Miner City Police Chief Christopher Griggs.

After consideration, the board unanimously agreed Griggs failed to work a 40-hour work week and to be on call at all times and wrongfully terminated Laura Adams.

The board presented four Articles of Impeachment and ultimately dropped the claims of workplace bullying because they did not have a witness. They also withdrew the article that accused Griggs of improper use of city communications systems because an outsourced forensic computer science investigator was not present.

Griggs said in the hearing he clearly noted his objections.

Now, he’s in a holding pattern.

“To me it seems fairly obvious it was one sided,” Girggs said. “Whatever evidence they were able to produce, there was question around that so we will stand by what we do. I will still do what I do being chief of police and we’ll see what happens.”

Moving forward, Griggs’ attorney James McClellan said the City Attorney has to prepare findings of facts and conclusions of law board needs to make the impeachment official. Then he will take it and appeal to a higher court. Documents would impeach him, but not a final order until a higher court rules on it, such as a circuit court or court of appeals.

Previously, Griggs filed a lawsuit against city Board of Alderman members, claiming they violated his authority as chief.

Documents were drafted by leaders of the City of Miner, including Mayor Pro Tem Bill James and members of the Board of Alderman through the City Attorney Tabatha J. Thurman for the following reasons:

  • Failure of the Chief of Police, Christopher Griggs, to work a 40-hour work week and to be on call at all times
  • Termination of Laura Adams
  • Workplace Bullying
  • Improper Use of City Communications Systems
The Board of Alderman held the special meeting on Monday, March 11 (Source: Isabelle Hanson,...
The Board of Alderman held the special meeting on Monday, March 11 (Source: Isabelle Hanson, KFVS)

According to the documents, the Chief of Police is required to work a 40-hour work week at minimum and be on call at all times.

City officials say timesheet logs from July 31, 2018 to January 22, 2019 demonstrate Griggs’ refusal to follow the 40-hour minimum according to the city. In 2018, the Mayor and Board of Alderman requested in open session that Chief Griggs log in each time he is working to keep track of his hours.

They say interviews conducted of police personnel revealed “poor morale” due to this violation by the Chief of Police. City officials said Grigg’s failure to work a 40-hour-work week was addressed at multiple Board of Alderman meetings as well as individually with Griggs.

According to documents, Grigg’s failure to cover a shift and work the 40 hours put a strain on the City of Miner and its police officers. The articles also state the “overtime” compensation, which is a direct result of this willful refusal of Chief Griggs, is causing a strain on the City of Miner financial budget.

The articles later state Chief Griggs refused to reinstate Laura Adams’ employment with the Miner Police Department after the Board of Alderman gave him a lawful order to do so.

City officials cite an audio recording of a meeting between Griggs and Adams in which Griggs fired Adams for a third time and stated that it was “his police department” despite the board’s requests. They say Griggs refused to schedule Adams for work after the board reinstated her on two previous occasions.

According to the documents, Griggs suspended Adams’ MULES privileges and stated in an open meeting on October 16, 2018 that he believed she was running license plates for her brother-in-law without justification and in violation of the terms of her employment. The city investigated this claim and found no wrongdoing.

According to the documents, Griggs stated he requested a MULES log from the Missouri State Highway Patrol office to show that she had been using MULES inappropriately. The city’s investigation found that Griggs failed to produce this log.

The documents also stated Griggs refused to comply with the request of the board on the issue through various emails and stated often that the board did not have any authority over him or his police department.

Griggs was also accused of workplace bullying. The documents state Griggs texted Captain Lance Ash and ordered him not to speak with any member of the Board of Alderman stating this is “my police department” and threatened to report disciplinary action to the “POST” commission. Documents state Griggs conducted excessive memo writing on Police Officer James Buckley resulting in workplace bullying.

Documents also state he attempted to have criminal charges issues on Laura Adams in Scott County, Missouri in retaliation to the issue of her employment.

According to documents, Griggs failed to use his office issued city computer only for conducting city business.

His computer hard drive was taken into possession on December 19, 2018, by investigators. On December 20, 2018, the computer’s hard drive was turned over to Forensic Computer Services, which conducted an image of the hard drive and examined all of its existing and deleted data.

Data was found that was in direct violation of the employee handbook and reflect poorly on the Miner Police Department and the city as a while according to the articles.

“In 35 years of practicing law I’ve never seen someone trying to be impeached, but they have a political agenda, it’s a witch hunt," said James McClellan who’s representing Chief Griggs.

He said Griggs isn’t facing any criminal charges and if the board gets its way in the impeachment hearing they will fight it.

“If they would succeed which they probably will because the odds are stacked against him. We’ll just take it up on appeal to a higher court and continue to fight them. We have a civil suit pending against them now and there is a possibility we could amend that to possibly add a 1983 action for violation of his constitutional rights,” said McClellan.

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