Whistleblower Fired Based on Failed Polygraph

Beacon Journal staff writer Craig Webb reports in an article titled, “Falls police dispatcher loses job.” Excerpt:

The Cuyahoga Falls police dispatcher whose allegations about her bosses led to a major departmental shake-up is no longer on the job.

Mayor Don Robart said Tuesday that Kathleen M. Ball was fired as the result of a continuing departmental investigation.

Robart said the part-time dispatcher was dismissed earlier this month because investigators looking into police department problems did not believe she was truthful on a polygraph.

Robart also said Ball was talking publicly about the probe when she had been warned not to.

Ball, through a relative, declined to comment.

Based on Ball’s allegations of inappropriate behavior, the city last year spent $25,000 on a probe by personnel consultants Clemans, Nelson & Associates of the department’s top brass. The investigation did not result in any criminal charges but brought about leadership changes.

Police Chief Gordon Tomlinson was demoted in December to sergeant of the midnight shift and ordered to undergo sexual harassment training and alcohol counseling or face firing.

His brother, Capt. Thomas Tomlinson, agreed to retire in exchange for not being fired.

The city did fire Sgt. Thomas Coffman for a variety of infractions, including using city computers to work on an outside venture, showing pornographic images and making inappropriate comments to co-workers. He is appealing the firing and seeking reinstatement to the force.

A “failed” polygraph “test” is a convenient pretext for retaliation against whistleblowers. This story speaks to the need for passage of a Comprehensive Employee Polygraph Protection Act.

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