The Thunder Bay police officer found guilty of discreditable conduct in an odd disciplinary proceeding earlier this year is suing his union.
James Mauro, who held the rank of sergeant until last month when he was demoted to constable for a year, says in a statement of claim filed in small-claims court that the Thunder Bay Police Association wrongfully removed him from the post of bargaining chair in late 2009.
Mauro says the union's constitution stipulates the job can only be taken away for failure to perform the duties of office. He's asking for nearly $20,000 in compensation for the amount he would have been paid had he held the position until this year.
In its statement of defence, the police association denies each allegation and says Mauro was removed by a vote of the membership. The association also maintains that Mauro indicated after the ballots were counted that he had no intention of taking legal action. It says he then walked out of the room before the meeting was over.
The matter goes to trial in September.
Mauro has a history of employment problems on the Thunder Bay force.
In 2007 and 2008, he was suspended with pay on another matter. When the force refused to consider his application for a promotion to staff sergeant because he was under suspension, the police association launched a labour grievance
Not satisfied with his union's settlement of the matter, Mauro launched his own complaint to the Ontario Police Arbitration Commission, seeking a promotion. It was rejected.
Then last fall, disciplinary proceedings against Mauro began on two charges under the provincial Police Services Act alleging deceit and discreditable conduct. The charges stemmed from a fake letter of support Mauro wrote three years ago on his own behalf to the Thunder Bay Police Service under the name of Keith Hobbs, who at the time was president of the police union and is now mayor.
Neither Mauro nor his lawyer appeared at any of his hearings. At the first session, an agent for Mauro's lawyer said the police officer was sick and likely could not attend any hearings for two to three months.
When no one showed up on the defence side at the next hearing date a month later, and again two months after that, the proceedings went ahead without Mauro. He was found guilty in March on the discreditable conduct charge and penalized in April, with adjudicator Morris Elbers saying the disgraced officer has a chip on his shoulder that's manifested toward the force.