Boulder City, Nevada fired Police Chief Thomas Finn when he returned from a three-month-long, paid medical leave yesterday morning. No one was surprised. Boulder City named Finn’s putative replacement, a Vegas Metro Deputy Chief named Bill Conger, acting chief March 13.
While on leave, Finn filed ethics complaints against three of the Boulder City Politicians who fired him and filed a religious discrimination complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. In that complaint which is still pending, Finn alleged he had been unfairly criticized because he is Roman Catholic and most of his bosses are Mormons.
Finn also had a press release ready yesterday. City manager David Fraser “offered me the opportunity to resign my position, which I immediately declined,” Finn wrote. “I was then advised that my employment with the City of Boulder City as Chief of Police was terminated.” Fraser and City Attorney Dave Olsen then watched as Finn cleaned out his desk. “I have, for the most part, enjoyed a rewarding 32-year career, fourteen of those years as a chief of police,” Finn wrote. He added that he intended “to make Boulder City a better place to live and work.”
Mongols And Stubbs
Finn got into trouble last June when he decided to bully members of the Mongols Motorcycle Club while they were in his town on vacation. The Mongols had hired a lawyer named Stephen Stubbs to mediate any possible disputes with city officials and Finn was allegedly almost as rude to Stubbs as he was to the Mongols.
Stubbs accused Finn of multiple felonies and misdemeanors and urged city officials to investigate those charges in October. Finn then tried to sue Stubbs, Olsen and others into silence by filing a defamation lawsuit against his critics on November 21, 2012. Stubbs accused Finn of filing a nuisance suit to silence his critics. A judge dismissed Finn’s suit and ordered the Chief to pay Stubbs’ the cost of defending himself.
On November 29, the Boulder City Council voted to have Stubbs’ allegations against Finn investigated by the Nevada Attorney General. The findings of that investigation were then forwarded to the Clark County District Attorney and remain a closely guarded secret.
On December 11, the City Council ordered an audit of the Police Department by an “outside agency.” The International City/County Management Association’s Center for Public Safety Management completed the audit last month. Among other things, the audit discovered a missing M-16. Finn called the audit a “hack job.”
Finn had been Boulder City Police Chief since 2006. He had been on paid leave since January 16. Boulder City officials had no comment on the firing other than to say Boulder City had “separated employment” with Finn. The Boulder City Review has reported that Finn demanded a $250,000 buy out to go away quietly but the city refused.