Police Chief Forfeits Two Vacation Days For Swearing At Union

SEYMOUR, CT &#8211 The Seymour Board of Police Commissioners ordered Police Chief Michael Metzler to forfeit two vacation days for allegedly using foul language in criticizing the Seymour Police Union last month.

The board voted 5-0 to approve the discipline, saying Metzler showed bad judgement on Dec. 16 when the alleged comments were made.

Metzler will also have to send a letter of apology to the Seymour Police Union.

The ruling came after the commissioners met in executive session Thursday to talk about the complaint against Metzler.

Metzler declined to comment after the meeting Thursday.

The Complaint

Sgt. Richard Gittings filed the complaint last month, after Metzler allegedly cursed in front of Gittings and other officers at the police department. Click here to read a previous article about the complaint.

Gittings’ complaint says Metzler allegedly walked into the department’s “briefing area” and complained that no union members attended a meeting on Dec. 15 about a new department radio console.

Metzler alleged swore twice.

“I thought, as did the others (present) that the statement was completely out of line and inappropriate,” Gittings wrote in his complaint. “As a supervisor, I feel it is my duty to report this to the Board of Police Commissioners to investigate this incident.”

In a statement released to the press Thursday, the Seymour Police Union said while the complaint might seem petty, the union is taking it very seriously. It’s a symptom of a hostile work environment, the union claims.

“The men and women of Local 564 often work in a hostile environment on the street as part of the job we all do,” the statement says. “We don’t think our members should feel that way when they report for duty at Police Headquarters.”

Other Complaints

Since Gittings filed his complaint against Metzler, the union posted a notice on the bulletin board asking officers to notify union officials any time they felt harassed or intimidated by the administration.

“With the Gittings complaint and the (Ron) Goodmaster litigation pending against the administration, we expected the harassment and bullying of our members to continue and possibly increase,” Seymour Police Union vice president John D’Antona wrote in a letter to union attorney Richard Gudis. “Tensions have already been at a higher level due to the union working with the town on money saving ideas.”

Two officers — Officer John Martin and Detective Scott Nihill — sent letters of complaint on Jan. 4, according to D’Antona’s letter.

The complaints detail alleged “hostile” work environment between union members and police department administrators Lt. Paul Satkowski and Metzler.

Seymour Board of Police Commissioners chairman Lucy McConologue said the other two complaints aren’t currently under review by the board, although the members are aware of the complaints.

Animosity

The Seymour Police Department has had tense relations between union members and administrators. For example:

  • The union has asked for different schedules, bypassing the administrators and going directly to the town.
  • A detective has been in a back-and-forth battle with the administration over several different issues.
  • The Seymour Police Union in February wrote a letter to Metzler complaining about a number of issues within the department — including problems with the communications system.