Friday, May 13, 2011

Dueling Adams County Sheriffs will Cost Taxpayers…

Elected Adams County Sheriff Doug Darr was brought to federal court by his past political opponent Adams County Sheriff’s Sgt. Mark Nicastle.

Nicaslte made claims that Darr stepped on his 1st Amendment when his boss, Darr violated his right to freedom of speech while seeking the bid to be the next elected Adams County Sheriff.

Nicastle was demoted from lieutenant to sergeant in 2008. According to Nicastle,he was kept from certain venues by Darr during the campaign by means of a personnel policy issue that violated his 1st Amendment rights. Nicastle stated, “I can’t think of any other explanation than evil intent”.

A 9 person federal jury unanimously favored Sgt. Mark Nicastle.

Darr stated, “My decisions were based on behavior and performance and none were based on politics”. Darr also stated he was term-limited at the time of the disciplinary actions and demotion, and he steered clear of a 2009 ballot question that cleared the way for county officeholders to seek a third term.

Darr eventually was successful at winning a third term in November, defeating Nicastle.

Nicastle was awarded $99,000 in damages for mental and emotional stress; $24,600 in back pay as a result of his demotion from lieutenant to sergeant; and $1 in punitive damages for “extreme misconduct in a reckless and callous manner.” Judge Blackburn will decide if attorney fees will be paid by Darr and possible “front pay”. In addition, Blackburn will consider the issue of the reinstatement of Nicastle to his rank of lieutenant and the missed salary difference of $142,000 to $365,000 for the remainder of his expected employment with Adams County . The county will be responsible for paying damages.

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