Council discusses Muncey’s status in executive session

Madison City Council met in executive session on July 25 to discuss grievances against Madison Police Chief Larry Muncey. This photo of Muncey was taken earlier this year. RECORD PHOTOS
Madison City Council met in executive session on July 25 to discuss grievances against Madison Police Chief Larry Muncey. This photo of Muncey was taken earlier this year. RECORD PHOTOS

MADISON – After its regular meeting on July 25, Madison City Council entered executive session for almost four hours to discuss employee complaints and the employment status of Madison Police Chief Larry Muncey.

Madison police officers had filed complaints or ‘grievances’ against Muncey. Following the city’s review procedures, Mayor Troy Trulock studied the employee grievances with Human Resources and ruled that the complaints did not contain any merit for further consideration.

During executive session, the council determined that the complaints did deserve action and overruled Trulock’s decision. Six of seven council members voted to recommend that Trulock request a public apology from Muncey to the officers that filed the grievances, according to a source in City Hall who requested anonymity.

In addition, city council stated that Trulock should respond to them within 30 days about the status of his decision on Muncey’s employment.

Council President Tim Holcombe adjourned the council’s regular meeting around 8 p.m. The council, mayor and city employees remained in deliberation in the executive session until almost midnight.

Holcombe said five grievances were filed by police officers against Muncey.

Holcombe said the proceedings “were handled exactly the way it had to be handled according to the city’s policy manual and by federal law. It is unusual that the charges were filed against a sitting department head.”

Following city policy, officers first filed the grievances to Muncey as department head, and Muncey responded that the complaints were without merit. The officers next appealed to mayor, who responded that the grievances were without merit. The officers then appealed to City Council, causing the need for executive session on July 25.

The scenario “still has a lot of moving parts with attorneys involved. (People on) Facebook can speculate about what happened, but, until you sit in the hearings, you don’t know” the facts, Holcombe said.

In a statement earlier this year, Holcombe said, “The City Council appoints the police chief, but, administratively, he reports day to day to the mayor. The mayor could make a recommendation for termination; the ultimate decision authority would be the city council.”

Trulock did not respond to an email request by “The Madison Record” on July 26 for a statement about the executive session.

On April 15, U.S. District Judge Madeline Hughes Haikala found Muncey guilty of contempt of court. Muncey’s charges are associated with the civil rights trial for Madison police officer Eric Parker in September 2015.

After two mistrials, the federal judge acquitted Parker for the incident involving Sureshbhai Patel. The incident occurred in a Madison neighborhood near County Line Road on Feb. 6, 2015. Patel was hospitalized and has partial paralysis.

Trulock released this statement on April 15: “Following Judge Haikala’s ruling, Mayor Troy Trulock has placed Chief Larry Muncey on administrative leave pending the conclusion of any appeal. The Deputy Police Chief, Major Jim Cooke, a veteran of the Madison Police Department, is the acting Police Chief.”

Muncey and Parker remain on administrative leave with pay.

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