LOCKPORT – A new city police officer who was laid off last week because of budgetary constraints was fired earlier this week.
Officials denied the two actions were related, but they would not address why the officer was terminated, calling it a personnel matter.
Officer Andrew R. Johnson III, who was still in his one-year probationary period, was one of two officers hired to replace two officers who were expected to retire in 2012. Only one of the officers retired, so Johnson was officially laid off Friday due to budgetary constraints.
The Police Board then met Monday in a closed-door session and fired Johnson.
“I agree it sounds unusual, but one thing really had nothing to do with the other,” said Mayor Michael W. Tucker. “Obviously there were some issues the Police Department had some concerns about, so they stepped up and addressed it.”
Tucker said the actions that ended Johnson’s employment involved a violation of police regulations after he was laid off Friday.
“This is what probation is for. Everything is OK, but there was an incident that happened over the weekend that kind of forced this issue,” Tucker said.
Police Chief Lawrence M. Eggert on Wednesday confirmed the firing but would not discuss if any charges were filed or offer any details on the matter. “The status was changed to terminated,” he said. “Because it’s a personnel matter we can neither confirm nor deny anything about it.”
However, Eggert did confirm that the termination would prevent Johnson from being called back for the next open spot.
“He was terminated, so that terminates his linkage with us. He can’t go back on the civil service list, and he won’t have automatic callback rights,” he said.
Eggert said Johnson is still eligible to retake the civil service test for appointment to the Police Department, the same as anybody else.
“He’s a nice guy. He’s a very pleasant young man,” he said.