WALKER - A Cass County sheriff's deputy has filed a grievance over being demoted after being convicted of a misdemeanor DWI in Crow Wing County.
The Cass County Board on Tuesday referred the grievance to its personnel committee. That committee will recommend county board action on the grievance.
Travis Mark Collette, 26, Brainerd, pleaded guilty Sept. 19 before Judge Earl E. Maus, was convicted and sentenced the same day to pay $605 fines and fees and was placed on two years supervised probation.
Misdemeanor no proof of insurance and petty misdemeanor charges of driving the wrong way on a one-way street and seat-belt violation were dismissed.
Collette was cited by a Baxter police officer at 1:59 a.m. Sept. 3 at Highway 371 and Gull Lake Dam Road. His blood-alcohol level was .11.
The judge stayed 90 days in jail on conditions that Collette not drink and drive, remain law abiding, attend a MADD victim impact panel, complete an alcohol assessment and not drive without a valid license.
The grievance Minnesota Teamsters Public and Law Enforcement Employees Union filed on Collette's behalf notes Collette was picked up in Crow Wing County while off duty. It states he entered and successfully completed a treatment program, pleaded guilty and paid the fine.
Court records indicate he is paying $50 per month toward the fine and fees and has made two scheduled payments.
"Alcoholism is a disability covered by (Americans with Disabilities Act) and he has done everything to address his problem," the grievance contends. It objects to Collette's demotion to jailer, a two-grade pay cut.
"Considering fines, cost of treatment and loss of wages, the discipline is excessive," the grievance contends, adding, "Employer did not follow progressive discipline."
The grievance asks that Collette be reinstated to his former deputy position, that a letter be issued saying any same or similar conduct will result in discipline up to and including termination. It also asks for reimbursement of the wage difference between deputy and jailer and that any reference to this issue be purged from his personnel file.
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