MILWAUKEE COUNTY, WI – The deputies union has filed a lawsuit over Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr.’s promotion of Nancy L. Evans as a captain in the department.
The union claims the promotion was illegal because Evans lacked law enforcement certification and because Clarke didn’t file a required notice of a job vacancy or follow other county hiring rules before elevating her.
“Evans did not participate in a legal promotion process,” according to the lawsuit, filed Friday in Milwaukee County Circuit Court.
County ordinances require a competitive test for managerial level jobs, something that didn’t happen before Evans’ promotion, the lawsuit says.
The union, along with three sheriff’s deputies, filed the suit, which lists Clarke, Evans and the county as defendants. The suit seeks an injunction voiding Evans’ promotion and an unspecified sum in damages for deputies Brian J. Fox, James J. Novotny and Roy M. Felber. Felber also is president of the Milwaukee County Deputy Sheriffs’ Association.
Novotny would have applied for the captain’s post Evans was given if he’d known there was an opening, the lawsuit says.
Evans is listed as a sheriff’s captain within the department’s Detention Services Bureau, in court operations, according to the lawsuit. Her current pay is about $80,000 a year, county records show.
It’s not the first time the union has complained about Evans, who was first hired by the department in 1997 as a jailer. In June 2012, Felber made similar arguments about Evans getting promoted to captain.
At the time, she headed the department’s Detention Services Bureau. She was put on a paid leave of absence that year while she was under criminal investigation in connection with some $6,000 in payments she authorized for a friend hired to do interior painting, wallpaper removal and refinishing office chairs at the jail.
That work was not completed, according to a 2012 report.
Prosecutors closed the investigation by November 2012 with no charges filed.
Assistant District Attorney Kurt Benkley said at the time that Evans and her family did not get any kickbacks from the friend she hired.
Her pay was cut from $92,000 a year in October 2011 to about $79,000 in early 2012, about the time the investigation of her was launched.
The union lawsuit says Evans also is the subject of an ongoing internal investigation by the sheriff’s office. In 2010, Evans oversaw the House of Correction.
Clarke declined to comment. Evans and Felber did not return calls Monday seeking comment on the lawsuit.