Dayton appeals court upholds ruling to reinstate fired Miami Twp. police officer

A Miami Twp. police officer fired two years ago should be reinstated with lost wages and benefits, an appeals court has ruled.

A Montgomery County Common Pleas Court judge’s ruling on an arbitrator’s decision to reinstate Doug Hesler has been upheld, records show.

The township’s board of trustees appealed the county court’s denial of an application “to vacate an arbitration award that sustained a grievance regarding” the termination of Hesler, a union leader, according to a summary of the Friday ruling by the 2nd District Court of Appeals in Dayton.

Arbitrator Jenifer Flesher ruled in Hesler’s favor after trustees voted in 2019 to terminate his employment. Trustees filed in county court appealing Flesher’s decision.

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Hesler was dismissed from the police department in May 2019 after a trustees’ unanimous vote, records show.

In recommending Hesler’s termination, Miami Twp. Police Chief Charlie Stiegelmeyer noted the veteran officer’s violation of the department’s recording policy, its code of conduct and core values, according to township documents.

His termination followed a claim by a department supervisor “that Hesler was being untruthful,” Friday’s ruling by appellate Judge Michael Tucker states.

The appeals ruling upholds a December 2020 decision by county Judge Timothy O’Connell. O’Connell ordered the township “to immediately offer reinstatement” to Hesler.

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“The court orders Defendant, Hesler, to be paid all lost wages and benefits with seniority restored, less any wages and benefits earned as a result of being employed elsewhere during the time period from May 21, 2019 until his date of return to employment,” O’Connell wrote.

The Dayton Daily News reached out to Miami Twp. regarding the appeals court ruling, but officials did not respond by Monday’s deadline.

Hesler’s attorney, Stephen Lazarus, said “I think we’re pleased that Doug’s going to get back to work (with Miami Twp.) and we’re sorry that this took so long to get resolved.”

He has not yet been reinstated by Miami Twp., Lazarus said Monday afternoon.

Hesler was hired as a police officer in July 2019 by Perry Twp., Lazarus said. But “but he’s not making the money he was in Miami Twp.,” he said.

Lazarus said the township could appeal the case to the Ohio Supreme Court.

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