Norwood police chief sues mayor for 'interfering with day-to-day operations' of department

Posted at 12:29 AM, Oct 04, 2017

NORWOOD, Ohio -- Police Chief William Kramer filed suit Monday against the city that employs him, claiming Mayor Thomas Williams and other city officials had overstepped their roles and compromised his authority in the process.

Kramer's suit requests an injunction against Williams, city public safety director Joseph Geers and Capt. Keith Belleman, all of whom he accused of compromising his authority and coordinating to install Belleman in his position while he took sick leave.

The conflict began in June with Belleman, Kramer said in the suit. When Kramer changed elements of Belleman's job duties and relocated him to a new office "to improve the functioning of the Police Department," he said he quickly received a note from Williams directing him to "restore Captain Belleman back to his former duties and office effective immediately." He did so, he wrote.

But more productivity-oriented changes to the police department, all of which were made while the city was under a state of fiscal emergency, created greater friction in the following months. When Kramer again moved Belleman to another office space in order to make room for a lieutenant returning from extended injury leave, Williams again directed him to retract the decision.

Kramer wrote that he requested sick leave Sept. 29 based on a doctor's advice; by "late afternoon," Geers had appointed Belleman to the long-unused position of acting police chief. Previously, he said, "acting" positions had been discontinued because of controversy about whether an "acting" employee should receive the pay and benefits of the position they were temporarily filling.

On the same day, despite Kramer's decision to withdraw Norwood officers from outside task forces in order to save money and manpower, Williams promised the Cincinnati DEA a Norwood officer would remain on their local task force.

"The agent informed the Mayor he was not comfortable without the Chief in agreement, and the Mayor said not to worry they would talk to the Chief," the suit stated.

Kramer's suit asserts that all of these actions amount to Williams and Greer "exceeding (their) legal authority" and "interfering with the day-to-day operations of the Norwood Police Department," and the only legal resource he has is an injunction preventing further misconduct.

It also requests the court issue a declaratory judgement clearly outlining the powers of Kramer's position in order to eliminate further conflict.

The City of Norwood had not responded to the suit by midnight Tuesday.