City settles with former police officer

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A civil lawsuit, filed by a former Bolivar police officer against the city, was dismissed this week in Polk County Circuit Court following a settlement between the parties. 

According to online court records, Associate Circuit Judge David C. Replogle filed an order for dismissal with prejudice on Tuesday, Jan. 7, in the civil case — which alleged employment discrimination and retaliation — filed by Chris Covert against the City of Bolivar. 

The document said the parties have “agreed to a stipulation for dismissal.” 

“The matter is resolved,” Bolivar’s city administrator Tracy Slagle said via email Thursday. 

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Slagle said the city “cannot share any additional information” because of a non-disclosure agreement. 

On Friday, the BH-FP sent a Sunshine for details of the settlement to the city’s attorney, Don Brown. A response to the request was not immediately available as of press time.   

According to previous coverage, Covert — a police corporal who resigned from employment on Nov. 15, 2018 — contended the city discriminated against him because he suffers from “a handicap of sleep apnea borderline narcolepsy.” 

The civil petition said Covert told his supervisors about his conditions, “sought reasonable accommodations” from the police department and performed “all functions, duties and responsibilities required of his position.”

The petition took issue with a failed performance evaluation Covert received on July 9, 2018.

The city used “an improper and incorrect grading scale in the evaluation form to create a failed performance evaluation” and included Covert’s sleep apnea and borderline narcolepsy as reasons for his poor ratings, the petition said. 

The petition said the evaluation also violated several police department standard operating guidelines.  

Covert — who the petition says was placed “under scrutiny of an internal affairs investigation” and was given notice of limited duty — had voiced opposition to his conditions “being held against him by administration.”

The petition said he also spoke out against “discriminatory conduct toward a fellow employee with a handicap/disability,” which the petition says led to the retaliation of the poor performance evaluation.  

Covert — who the petition said suffered monetary damage, physical pain, anguish and distress — asked for back pay from the time of the alleged discrimination, wage increases and reimbursement of any lost fringe benefits, social security contributions, front pay and all other monetary compensation, as well as attorney’s fees, costs and “all other relief afforded.” 

Attempts to reach Covert’s attorney, Jay Kirksey, were unsuccessful as of press time Friday.

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