By ZEINAB NAJM
HEIGHTS — Former Police Chief Mark Meyers could be back in his position with the city after the Act 78 Police & Fire Civil Service Commission ruled in his favor.
In a March 29 letter to the city administration, Commission Secretary Stephen Lobkovich wrote that the commission “finds no cause for the termination of Chief Mark Meyers has been demonstrated by the Appointing Authority in Dearborn Heights.”
As a result, Meyers is to be reinstated with full pay for the entire duration of this separation from service per Public Act 78 of 1935.
Mayor Bill Bazzi did not comment on the decision by press time.
The hearing where Meyers detailed his termination from the city was held March 24, where no representative from the city was in attendance.
Lobkovich wrote that the decision comes after hearing the presentation from Meyers and hearing no other evidence as to the cause for his termination.
Meyers was terminated by Bazzi and Human Resources Director Margaret Hazlett during a private meeting Feb. 24. Bazzi then announced the appointment of new Police Chief Jerrod Hart.
The city maintains it had the authority to terminate Meyers. When Meyers asked what was the cause for his termination, he was told they had the legal right to remove him from the chief position.
Representatives from the city were not in attendance at the meeting, but were notified through the proper manner with a certified letter. Commissioner Stephen Popp said the city responded saying they were not going to attend the hearing and that they wanted to cancel the hearing.
Commission President Martin Crandall was supposed to run the hearing but was terminated from the commission March 23, Popp said. Lobkovich said he didn’t know if they were allowed to discuss the termination, and that it was a separate issue.
Meyers presented his side of the appeal starting with his history, stating he was hired in August 1997 under Act 78, just as every police officer has been since Act 78 was adopted by Dearborn Heights residents in 1978.
In May 2020, Meyers was promoted by the then-Mayor Daniel Paletko, and not appointed, which falls within the rules of Act 78, Meyers said.
As of the March 24 hearing, Meyers said he had not been provided any type of reason, cause, written notification or anything that is required according to Public Act 78 as part of the process to suspend, remove, discharge him from his position.
Following the hearing, Bazzi said Meyers was not part of Act 78, per the city charter, citing Section 5.11. He said the city was not in attendance due to that reason, and again said the charter excludes the chief. Bazzi also said the city advised the commission that the hearing shouldn’t have taken place.
“We follow the charter and we have it for a reason,” he said.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected])