JEFFERY L. STUMP, Plaintiff,
TOWN OF MIDDLETOWN, MAYOR KENNETH L. BRANNER, CHIEF MICHAEL IGLIO, and DELAWARE CRIMINAL JUSTICE COUNCIL, an agency of the State of Delaware Defendants.
Submitted: March 25, 2019
Plaintiff's Petition for Writ of Mandamus.
S. Malik, Esquire, The Law Office of John S. Malik Attorney
Mims, Esquire, Department of Justice, Deputy Attorney General
for Criminal Justice Council
G. Wilcox, Esquire, Moore & Rutt, Attorney for Defendants
Town of Middletown, Mayor Kenneth L. Branner, and Chief
L. SCOTT, JR. JUDGE
Fall of 2015, an internal affairs investigation was initiated
by the Town of Middletown Police Department related to an
incident that occurred on September 28, 2015, involving
Master Sergeant Jeffery Stump. Following their standard
procedure, Sergeant Stump was provided notice of the
investigation, the allegations he was facing, and the
disciplinary sanctions that could be imposed as a result of
the outcome of the investigation. The investigation was
carried out by then Captain Iglio, who at the time was an
Internal Affairs officer.
November 6, 2015, as part of the investigation, Sergeant
Stump was interviewed by Captain Iglio. Also present at the
interview was Lieutenant Texter and Counsel for Sergeant
Stump. The interview was recorded in compliance with 11
Del. C. § 9200 (c) (7).
end of the investigation, Captain Iglio reached the
conclusion that four of the allegations against Sergeant
Stump were sustained. A fifth allegation was not sustained,
and Sergeant Stump was exonerated in relation to a sixth
allegation. These conclusions were reviewed by the town
solicitor and then presented to then Chief of Police Yeager.
At the time, imposition of discipline based on the findings
of internal investigations was up to the discretion of the
Chief of Police. By letter dated January 7, 2016, Sergeant
Stump was notified that he was to be disciplined. The
discipline imposed was effective retroactive to January 4,
2016, including a demotion two ranks to Master Corporal, a
corresponding reduction in pay, and one year of probation.
This notice is addressed from the Mayor and Council of
Middletown, signed by Mayor Branner. Sergeant Stump was made
aware of this decision after working at least part of a shift
on January 8, 2016. Sergeant Stump acknowledged receipt of
this notice, signing the letter on the same day.
January 20, 2016, Counsel for Sergeant Stump notified Captain
Iglio that his client wished to appeal the findings and
discipline imposed following the internal affairs
investigation. Correspondence from Counsel indicates they
understood the grievance procedure to be pursuant to Section
6.2(B)(2)(a) and (b) of the Town's Personnel Policy
Manual, and an ultimate appeal to the Mayor.
result of the request for an appeal, Sergeant Stump and his
Counsel attended a meeting with Mayor Branner, and the
attorney for the Mayor. No members of the Town Council or
Police Department were present for this meeting. Following
the meeting Sergeant Stump was notified by letter dated
December 6, 2016, that the Mayor and Council heard the
appeal, and agreed that the penalty they placed upon Stump
"may have been too severe." The letter served as
notice that Sergeant Stump was to be reinstated one rank to
Sergeant, and provided back pay from January 6, 2016 to
December 5, 2016.
December 14, 2016, Sergeant Stump notified the Mayor via
email that he wished to appeal the Mayor and Council's
determination "to the next step." The Mayor's
response from the following day stated "[The Mayor]
heard your appeal, as stated in the MOU and Town Policy
manual, and made a recommendation to Council which was
accepted." The response further states that the Mayor
and Council's decision was final, and that there was no
"next step" in the appeals process.
December 28, 2016, Sergeant Stump's attorney requested a
hearing via trial board to be convened under the auspices of
the Criminal Justice Council (CJC). In response, now acting
Chief Iglio sent a letter to the CJC notifying the Council of
the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between the Town
and the Middletown Police Department Fraternal Order of
Police Lodge #20. Acting Chief Iglio provided an abbreviated
statement of the matter, and represented that Sergeant Stump
initiated and exhausted the grievance procedure as outlined
in the personnel policy manual.
on the facts presented by the parties, the CJC determined
Sergeant Stump was not entitled to a hearing under the
auspices of the CJC. The Letter from CJC Executive Director
Kervick shows there was a misapprehension on the part of the
CJC in regards to the process afforded Sergeant Stump. As of
the date of the letter it was understood by the CJC that
"the Middletown Police Department held a hearing
concerning Sergeant Stump's demotion […] under its
grievance procedure articulated within the Department's
collective bargaining agreement." The letter
continues "Sergeant Stump's grievance went through
the successive steps of the agreement" indicating the
CJC believed Sergeant Stump was afforded the opportunity to
present his case to the Mayor and City Council.
the denial of a trial board hearing before the CJC, Stump
petitioned this Court for a Writ of Mandamus, demanding a
hearing consistent with the requirements of ...