News » The QueQue

Sculley grounds former Airport Police officer

By Gilbert Garcia

Sheryl Sculley has made it clear: She will not abide misconduct in the Airport Police Department.

On March 17, the city manager disregarded a decision by San Antonio's Civil Service Commission, and upheld the December, 2008, termination of Corporal Russell Martin.

Sculley ignored the commission's 2-1 finding that the department had misrepresented Martin's concerns that there might be "fisticuffs or shooting" if he was teamed with Sgt. Orlando Battles as a threat of violence, when Martin viewed the statement as an expression of concern that he might be attacked by Battles. Sculley also tossed out this logical standard applied by the commission: If Martin was a threat, why did the department wait nearly six months to terminate him? That long delay supported Martin's argument that he had been targeted because he blew the whistle on Battles' pattern of time-card fraud.

In her letter to Martin, Sculley said: "The City of San Antonio maintains a zero tolerance policy in an effort to keep the workers free from hostility, violence or threats of violence."

Apparently, Sculley is less concerned about threats of violence to the general public, considering that Sgt. Battles' law-enforcement career has survived a 2003 incident in which he was arrested for public intoxication and allegedly tried to break into the apartment of a neighbor. In a similar misconduct-pays story, city officials don't seem to be losing any sleep over the fact that Airport Police Chief Ron Bruner, as a member of SAPD in 1992, submitted a fake report stating that his son had died, and falsely told a female officer that he was divorced and was battling cancer.

With all this in mind, the big question is why Corporal Martin didn't get a promotion instead of a termination letter. With frustration mounting among Airport Police officers over the management of the department, Sculley's decision will likely send department morale plummeting.

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