Court documents allege Wyoming borough manager/mayor’s girlfriend rigged bid in equipment sale

By Joe Dolinsky - | December 31st, 2015 12:31 pm

WYOMING — A veteran police sergeant suing the borough and Mayor Robert J. Boyer for retaliation allegedly reported Boyer’s girlfriend, borough manager Tamra Smith, “fixed a bid” for an equipment sale involving the Pennsylvania State Police and the FBI, according to a document filed Tuesday in federal court.

Michael Fuller, an officer with the borough for over 20 years, filed the complaint Nov. 11 in federal court, claiming his free speech was violated when he blew the whistle on alleged misconduct by Smith.

The alleged misconduct initially lacked concrete facts to back it up, argued Scranton-based defense attorney Kathleen A. Walsh. Walsh urged U.S. District Court Judge Robert D. Mariani to dismiss Fuller’s complaint in its entirety.

An amended complaint filed Tuesday by Pittston-based attorney Cynthia L. Pollick claims Fuller acted as a citizen when he broke the chain of command and reported Smith’s “wrongdoing/crime” to State Trooper Bill Schutter and an unnamed FBI agent.

It was unclear Tuesday afternoon what type of equipment was awarded in the bid allegedly rigged by Smith. A message left for Pollick was not immediately returned.

The suit alleges Boyer was aware of Fuller’s actions as Fuller was the only individual who had knowledge of the misconduct by way of the person who received the piece of equipment through the bid.

Within a week, Boyer told Fuller he should “be careful who he tells things to,” the suit alleges.

Messages left Tuesday afternoon for Boyer and Smith were not immediately returned.

After reporting Smith, Fuller claims Boyer interfered with hours Fuller worked as an officer in Forty Fort and Luzerne boroughs, something the suit claims no other officer encountered.

The suit alleges Boyer warned Fuller he may be disciplined due to his outside employment, despite there being no restrictions in the borough’s collective bargaining agreement on hours worked outside the borough.

The suit goes on to allege Fuller was tasked with performing menial, out-of-the-ordinary jobs not typically assigned to other officers, including maintaining a log of businesses that failed to put garbage out for collection.

Fuller is seeking cessation of the retaliatory conduct as well as punitive damages and attorney fees.

Veteran police officer suing for retaliation

By Joe Dolinsky

Reach Joe Dolinsky at 570-991-6110 or on Twitter @JoeDolinskyTL