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Fired Police Chief's actions are deemed unprotected by Whistleblower Protection Act

Police Chief David Pappenheimer of New Lothrop became embroiled in a dispute with City Board member Julie Jenkins after she was appointed police commissioner.  Jenkins demanded that the Chief provider her with names, addresses and phone numbers of all officers, copies of all daily reports filed by the officers, and an inventory of all police department property.  Pappenheimer believed the request violated the Freedom of Information Act and refused.  He then investigated with other agencies to confirm that providing Jenkins with the requested information would violate the law.  In the interim, he was fired for insubordination.  He sued alleging a violation of the Whistleblower Protection Act, however, his case was dismissed.  The Court ruled that since he did not "report" the suspected FOIA violation to his employer, his activities were not protected from retaliation.  The Court did not decide whether providing the requested information would in fact have violated the FOIA, as it concluded that Pappenheimer had not proved that he was fired for engaging in protected activity.
Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
309 East Front Street
Traverse City, Michigan 49684
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