The City of San Antonio has lost a four year battle to enforce a punishment against a police lieutenant who was fired after officials said he cheated on a police exam, 1200 WOAI news reports.
The ruling means Lt. Joe Salvaggio, who has steadfastly maintained his innocence, will be reinstated to the force, and will be entitled to several hundred thousand dollars in back pay.
The City says Police Chief William McManus fired Salvaggio after he was seen, “writing subject matter on a post-it note and then trying to leave the testing room, violating a police departmental rule on conduct.’ The incident happened while Salvaggio was taking the captain’s exam.
“My job is to defend the honor and integrity of the San Antonio Police force and it’s officers,” McManus said in a statement. “At the time, I exercised my best judgement and disciplined Lt. Salvaggio.”
Salvaggio has refused a city offer to return to the force as a lieutenant and accept a written reprimand. He says he did nothing wrong.
The Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas (CLEAT), which represented Salvaggio, said in a statement that taxpayers are now on the hook following the city’s rush to judgement.
“It is regrettable that the city of San Antonio chose to drag this case out for four long years, costing taxpayers far too much money and putting a dedicated police officer through needless turmoil,” CLEAT said.
The State Supreme Court on Friday declined the city’s appeal of an arbitrator’s ruling in favor of Salvaggio. Lower courts also decided to uphold the arbitrator’s ruling
But the court proceedings, and the cost to the taxpayers, may not be over. The city has the right to appeal the back pay demand.
Salvaggio had not returned to the force as of Friday.