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Purvis case closed

By Staff | Jul 20, 2014

A nearly six month long investigation and employment settlement negotiations between the city of Blue Earth and one of its police officers has come to a close.

And, as part of the settlement agreement, officer Todd Purvis and his attorneys were awarded a lump sum payment of $75,000.

The settlement agreement was signed between June 30 and July 3 by the parties involved Purvis, Mayor Rick Scholtes and Purvis’s attorney. A copy of the document was obtained by the Faribault County Register last week.

In the settlement the city of Blue Earth agreed to accept Purvis resignation of employment with an effective date of March 25, as well as paying him a sum of $75,000.

Purvis had originally been placed on unrequested administrative leave on Jan. 20 after a formal written complaint had been filed against him.

Two investigations of the three complaints ensued. One was started by the Faribault County Sheriff’s Office but was carried out by the Cottonwood County county attorney’s office.

That investigation resulted in no formal criminal charges being filed against the officer.

Another internal investigation was conducted by the city of Blue Earth. The City Council held numerous closed sessions on the matter in the next couple of months.

At the end of the investigation, city officials would not comment on the employment status of officer Purvis, but the police union, Law Enforcement Labor Services, Inc. (LELS) filed a grievance for improper termination, according to the labor contract between the city and the police union.

In addition, the settlement agreement says Purvis had asserted or threatened various civil claims against the city.

The agreement also states the settlement was made “in order to avoid the expense and uncertainty of continued litigation.”

In the settlement, the city did not admit to any wrongful conduct and Purvis agreed not to pursue any type of action against the city. The police union, LELS, also agreed to drop its pending grievance action.

The $75,000 payment was listed as “consideration for the release of any and all claims, grievances or complaints.” The amount will be paid by the city’s insurance carrier, the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust. In the agreement, Purvis agrees to be responsible for any taxes or other obligations due to the payment.

In addition, the city agreed to pay for all costs of a mediation session that was held on June 17, which resulted in the settlement agreement.

Back in January, Purvis had been accused of three separate instances of conduct unbecoming an officer. No result of the investigation into those accusations has been made public.

“Any charges or complaints against Purvis that did not result in discipline are private personnel data,” says Patricia Beety, an attorney with the League of Minnesota Cities. “Because Purvis resigned before any final disposition of discipline under (state law covering grievance arbitration) no further public information can be released.”