Pre-disciplinary hearing for Meister complete
- Published: February 21, 2019
A pre-disciplinary hearing for Yellow Springs Police Officer David Meister was held on Thursday, Feb. 7.
The pre-disciplinary hearing was the next step in a disciplinary process involving the officer that began in December 2018. Because Meister was recently demoted and put on a six-month performance improvement plan after an internal investigation last year, he now possibly faces termination.
The hearing officer, Dayton attorney and mediator Jeff Hazlett, has 10 days from the hearing to notify the village of his findings. By press time, the Village had not yet received Hazlett’s report.
Village Council President Brian Housh said this week he anticipates that Council members will receive a copy of the hearing officer’s report and that Village Manager Patti Bates will discuss her decision with Council in executive session.
In addition, Housh said that while the disciplinary decision is Bates’ to make, she typically shares with Council “what she is thinking.” Housh added that Council “will probably get a heads up,” of Bates’ decision before she makes it.
In case the report and Bates’ decision are complete by Council’s next meeting on Monday, Feb. 18, an executive session has tentatively been placed on the agenda “for the discussion of the discipline of a public employee,” according to Housh.
In response to a question from the News, Housh said that a planned assessment of the YSPD, which was discussed at Council’s Feb. 4 meeting, would not take place before the disciplinary process involving Meister concluded.
Council has yet to put out a request for qualifications to find a consultant to perform that assessment, which Council member Lisa Kreeger said was to look at “budgets, processes, policies and skill sets” in the YSPD.
While not intended to be completed before Meister is potentially disciplined, Council does have a sense of urgency to start the assessment, Housh added.
“We want to make that happen as soon as possible,” he said.
Meister requested the recent hearing after receiving a letter from the Village in January informing him that he had allegedly violated policies related to ensuring public safety by not going on the call of a fatal shooting in the village in December 2018.
The Greene County Coroner ruled last week that the shooting was accidental, although local police are still investigating the incident (see page 13).
Meister was off duty but still at the station when that call came in, and has stated that he was not authorized by a supervisor to work overtime and thus could not go, but would have gone if asked.
In an email, Meister’s attorney, Dave Duwel, declined to comment to the News about the pre-disciplinary hearing. He also declined to share the evidence presented in support of Meister at the hearing.
This week, in response to a public records request, the Village released to the News the evidence it presented at the hearing.
That evidence includes the YSPD incident report from the shooting; a Clark County outside investigation report; a video of dispatch when the 911 calls came in, audio recordings of 911 calls and calls from Meister and his wife to YSPD dispatch, and other law enforcement documents.
In addition, the Village presented email exchanges with a mediator who was hired to work with Meister and YSPD Chief Brian Carlson using a restorative justice model. Meister declined to continue facilitated conversations with Carlson, those emails purportedly show.
Also presented as evidence by the Village is a statement from a friend of Livingston’s family member sharing her opinion on the impact of the Meisters’ presence at their home on the night of the shooting.
The News will explore the new evidence in an upcoming paper.
Visit https://www.ysnews.com for documents related to the investigation.