Dover Agrees to $300K Settlement on Discrimination Grievances - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Dover Agrees to $300K Settlement on Discrimination Grievances

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DOVER, Del. (WBOC) - We're learning new information on what may have led to last month's abrupt resignation of Dover's mayor - namely that the city council pressured Carleton Carey to leave office. That is despite the fact that Carey said just last month that he was retiring to spend more time with his family.

The issue started with the appointment of new police chief earlier this year.

In late March Chief Jim Hosfelt announced he was retiring. The mayor was responsible under city ordinance for choosing a replacement. He picked then-Maj. Paul Bernat.

At news conference soon after he was chosen as chief, Bernat introduced his command team, including his new deputy chief, his second-in-command, then-Lt. Martin Mailey.

A week later five officers - two captains and three of his fellow lieutenants - filed equal employment grievances.

"They were concerned they'd been passed over because of a desire to have a less qualified candidate placed as deputy chief. In that complaint, they alleged reverse discrimination," said Dave Bonar, who is city council president and acting mayor.

The complaints say that's because Mailey is African-American, and they are not.

The police department has faced multiple allegations from the community during the past year of racism and brutality.

Bonar says council started looking into the deputy chief selection process. And according to a news release that review raised questions about whether now-former Mayor Carey had overstepped his bounds, and went against the department's promotion policy, to see that Mailey got the deputy chief job.

"The mayor is only allowed to select the chief of police. From that point forward, it is up to the chief to make the decision," said Bonar. "It was the consensus of council that because of the allegations and the severity of the complaint that the mayor should resign."

A short time later the mayor did step down. WBOC spoke with Carey. He says he did not do what council alleges.

Bonar disagrees, though he adds he doesn't think Carey intended to do anything wrong.

"But that's what happened. You don't intend to run a red light," he said. "You don't intend to cause an accident. But someone has to be held responsible."

Carey wouldn't comment on the impact the council had on his decision to leave office. The city settled the employment grievances with the five officers earlier this week, in part by agreeing to give them a combined $300,000.

WBOC called the police department for comment from Bernat but was told "no comment," because this is a city personnel, not a police, matter.    
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