The Burbank police union filed a grievance with the city recently, arguing that the city manager failed to make a timely decision on whether to reinstate a former officer.
The grievance centers around the case of former Sgt. Chris Canales, sources said, who was fired for alleged misconduct during an investigation into a robbery at Porto’s Bakery in 2007 which cost 10 officers their jobs.
City officials have claimed the former officers used excessive force during the robbery investigation or lied to supervisors about what they saw or did.
In October, however, an arbitrator ruled in an advisory decision that Canales, a former Los Angeles police officer who joined the Burbank force in 2000, shouldn’t have been fired and should get his job back.
According to the Burbank Police Officers’ Assn. memorandum of understanding, the city manager has 30 working days after receiving the arbitrator’s report to make a decision on whether to reinstate the former employee.
As of Tuesday, Canales’ attorney Bill Seki said he hadn’t yet received notice of a decision.
“We’re hopeful that a resolution will come shortly,” Seki said last Thursday.
But the lack of timeliness didn’t sit well with the police union, which filed the grievance last month.
“It’s been several months,” said Claudio Losacco, president of the Burbank Police Officers' Assn., of the case mentioned in the grievance, without confirming the identity of the officer. “At this point, our membership is very concerned about how the aftermath of these decisions are being handled and the time it’s taking.”
If the grievance cannot be resolved, the union or city can request a state mediator to help resolve the issue.
“It’s not reasonable that their livelihoods are hanging in the balance... for such a length of time,” Losacco said of the former officers. “Whether the individual did something wrong or not, they have a right to the process.”
City Manager Mark Scott on Monday said he believes the issue will be resolved shortly.
“I don’t think there’s an issue associated with being late, but different people may have different opinions,” Scott said, also declining to confirm the officer’s identity. “We’re about to the point where it’ll get resolved.”
The majority of the officers fired in the wake of the robbery investigation are in various stages of legal proceedings with the city in attempts to get their jobs back.
Nine out of 10 officers fired after the probe had reportedly appealed their terminations.
Of the five cases that have concluded, arbitrators sided with the officer in four of them — Canales’ case as well as those of former Dets. Mike Reyes, Pete Allen and Angelo Dahlia. The city manager declined to reinstate Reyes, who is fighting the decision in court. Former Officer Elfego Rodriguez also continues to fight his firing in court after an arbitrator sided with the city.