Complaints against Bluffton police chief prompt new grievance policy

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Complaints against Bluffton police chief prompt new grievance policy

By RENEE DUDLEY rdudley@islandpacket.com 843-706-8138
Published Saturday, October 3, 2009 in The Island Packet  |  262 Words  |  news

Complaints against Bluffton Police Chief David McAllister -- some from his own officers -- have prompted town officials to create a new grievance policy so town workers can file complaints against other employees, Mayor Lisa Sulka said Saturday.
Talks about the new policy began about a month ago when Sulka, town manager Anthony Barrett and Mayor pro tempore Fred Hamilton asked McAllister to a breakfast meeting to discuss, among other things, complaints made against him, Sulka said.
"I've heard there are grievances," Sulka said. She declined to discuss the specific nature of the complaints, but said some of them were made by officers in McAllister's department.
Sulka said Barrett told her it's "not an overwhelming number of people" who have wished to file formal complaints against McAllister. She estimated there have been six complaints in recent months.
Hamilton declined comment on the meeting.
McAllister deferred all questions on the grievance policy and the complaints made against him to Barrett.
Barrett did not return four calls and an e-mail seeking comment, though he had communicated with both Sulka and Hamilton Saturday, both said. He began his three-year contract as town manager Sept. 1.
The police department already has its own grievance policy as part of the national police accreditation process it completed earlier this year, McAllister said. He said Barrett wants to create a "town-wide" policy. He said it is unclear to him why that "town-wide" policy is needed.
Sulka said town attorney Terry Finger has been working on details of the new policy.