JUDGE DISMISSES LAWSUIT AGAINST CENTRALIA CITY MANAGER, PLAINTIFF VOWS APPEAL TO FEDERAL COURTS

CIRCUIT JUDGE DANIEL HARTIGAN DISMISSED A LAWSUIT WEDNESDAY IN MARION COUNTY COURT AGAINST CENTRALIA CITY MANAGER DAN RAMEY THAT CLAIMED RAMEY’S POLICIES AND LEADERSHIP HAVE RESULTED IN “VIOLENT AND LAWLESS” ACTIONS OF CRIMINALS IN CENTRALIA. THE SUIT WAS FILED LAST MONTH BY CENTRALIA RESIDENT VERNELL BURRIS IN RESPONSE TO THE CITY’S FAILURE TO HIRE MORE POLICE OFFICERS. IN HIS SUIT BURRIS CLAIMED THERE ARE SUFFICIENT FUNDS IN THE BUDGET TO COVER THE ADDITIONAL OFFICERS AND THE EXTRA MANPOWER IS NECESSARY TO REDUCE THE CITY’S INCREASED CRIME RATE. CURRENTLY, THE CENTRALIA PD IS STAFFED BY 23 POLICE OFFICERS, INCLUDING POLICE CHIEF BRIAN ATCHISON, AFTER ONE OFFICER RECENTLY RESIGNED TO WORK AS A DISPATCHER. JUDGE HARTIGAN, HOWEVER, DISMISSED THE CASE SAYING THAT UNDER THE GOVERNMENTAL EMPLOYEES TORT IMMUNITY ACT, RAMEY HAS ABSOLUTE IMMUNITY FROM CIVIL CLAIMS. BURRIS SAYS HE WILL CONTINUE TO PURSUE THE ISSUE, HOWEVER, AND PLANS TO APPEAL THE DECISION EVEN AS FAR AS FEDERAL COURT. BUT TIME MAY NOT BE ON HIS SIDE. ACCORDING TO COURT RECORDS, RAMEY WILL BE RESIGNING HIS POSITION WITH THE CITY OF CENTRALIA THIS MONTH. RAMEY ANNOUNCED HIS INTENTION LAST YEAR TO RETIRE IN JANUARY 2018.

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