Crosby officer resigns - after getting his job back twice

Crosby Police Officer Jesse Smith--who got his job back two times through arbitration--has resigned his position. Marylee Abrams, a White Bear Lake attorney representing the city of Crosby, confirmed the news Thursday by email. "I can confirm Jes...


Crosby Police Officer Jesse Smith-who got his job back two times through arbitration-has resigned his position.

Marylee Abrams, a White Bear Lake attorney representing the city of Crosby, confirmed the news Thursday by email.

"I can confirm Jesse Smith has voluntarily resigned from the Crosby Police Department. His attorney Tim Andrew sent me an email (Wednesday) morning notifying me he was resigning effective immediately," Abrams stated.

Smith was scheduled to start work Wednesday, but instead he handed in his resignation.

Andrew was unavailable Thursday to comment on the resignation, office staff at Andrew and Bransky Attorneys At Law in Duluth said.


Calls made to Smith, Crosby Police Chief Kim Coughlin and Les Kundo of the Teamsters Local 346, the union representing Smith, were not returned.

Smith was placed on paid administrative leave two times in the past four years. He was placed on leave for alleged officer misconduct in August of 2012 and terminated on Jan. 28, 2013. Smith got his job back in 2014 when an arbitrator through the Minnesota Bureau of Mediation Services ruled in his favor.

Smith was terminated a second time on Oct. 6, 2016, when the Crosby City Council met in a special meeting to discuss potential disciplinary action against the officer. The council went into a closed session with Smith and his labor union representative with Teamsters Local 346 and then into an open session, when it voted to terminate Smith.

Smith filed a grievance, protesting his termination and the case-between the city of Crosby and the Teamsters Union-and it again went through arbitration. Arbitrator Frank E. Kapsch Jr., issued a decision May 31 overturning Crosby's decision to terminate Smith and ordered the police officer to be reinstated to his previous position.

The arbitrator ruled the city did not have "just cause" to terminate Smith and it violated the union's labor agreement. The city was forced to pay Smith full back pay and fringe benefits and all city records that reference his termination would be expunged.

According to the arbitration document, the city of Crosby allegedly terminated Smith for performing work on the Crosby computers for the Cuyuna and Deerwood police departments while he was on duty and being paid as a Crosby officer. Smith has served on the Cuyuna Police Department since the late 1990s and he also worked for Deerwood. In 2014, Smith was Cuyuna's deputy police chief and is now the chief.

Smith was a police intern with Crosby in 1995 and became a part-time police dispatcher in 1998. He was sworn as a full-time licensed police officer in 1999 in Crosby. Smith was promoted to sergeant in 2007.

Coughlin made a formal request to have the Cass County Sheriff's Office assist with a criminal investigation as to whether Smith was engaged in "double dipping," being paid by two departments at the same time for the same work. When the sheriff's office came back to state there was no evidence of Smith creating incident complaint reports to be paid from two cities of Crosby and Cuyuna, she then had an internal investigation. The arbitrator found the internal investigation findings "disturbing, disingenuous and possibly untruthful" and found no evidence to the city's claim.


In the second termination, the city of Crosby also alleged Smith was using the city computer for his own personal computer use. The arbitrator found the city's administration and enforcement of its computer usage policy was "lax, intermittent, disparate in impact and essentially ineffectual."

The first termination was based on whether Coughlin/city of Crosby had the right to demote Smith from sergeant to police officer; and whether Coughlin/Crosby had the right to terminate Smith. The arbitrator found Coughlin "had just cause to demote the 'grievant' from his position as a police sergeant." However, "evidence was insufficient to support the decision to terminate the 'grievant' as a police officer." The arbitrator also found Coughlin did not have "just cause to discharge him from employment."

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