Scottsdale officials are slated to face their former police chief in Maricopa County Superior Court next month.
Doug Bartosh is suing the city for wrongful termination associated with his dismissal on Jan. 21, 2003.
Bartosh claims in the suit that the city violated his whistle-blower and employment protection rights when City Manager Jan Dolan fired him after he criticized the findings of a performance review of the Scottsdale Police Department.
At the time, Bartosh had 11 years of service with the department, the last three as chief. He now serves as chief of the Cottonwood Police Department.
Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Pendleton Gaines will hear arguments on Feb. 24 as to whether Bartosh’s case should be allowed to move forward or be dismissed.
The suit marks the second time through the legal system for Bartosh and the city. Bartosh previously sued in federal court on the same grounds. In June, U.S. District Court Judge Earl Carroll dismissed two claims that the city violated its chief’s right to free speech. However, Carroll left the door open for Bartosh to sue in state court.
Carroll ruled that Bartosh was a “policymaker” and had some restrictions on his free speech rights.
When Dolan fired Bartosh, she cited his unwillingness to make changes within the police department in response to failings documented in the performance review.
She also criticized him for what she described as poor judgment for ordering an unmarked sport utility vehicle outfitted with personal options for his own use.
The city filed a motion in December, asking the court to dismiss the rest of Bartosh’s claims.
“The city doesn’t understand how anything he said purported to blow any whistle of any sort,” said attorney David Schwartz of the Mesa firm Udall, Schumway & Lyons, which is handling the case for Scottsdale.
Bartosh, who was reached at his Cornville residence near Cottonwood on Friday, referred questions to his attorney, Tod Schleier of the Phoenix firm Schleier Jellison Schleier. Schleier did not return phone calls seeking comment Friday or Monday.