- Associated Press - Thursday, July 17, 2014

PRINEVILLE, Ore. (AP) - A lawsuit contends that the National Guard officer who was fired from his position as Prineville’s police chief this week lost his job because he accepted an assignment to train troops in South Korea.

The former chief, Eric Bush, is also a brigadier general with the Oregon Army National Guard. He was assigned in 2013 to train South Korean and American forces stationed in South Korea, said his lawyer, Roxanne Farra.

Prineville officials put Bush on leave in September and fired him Tuesday. City officials have consistently refused to disclose details of the investigation or firing, saying only that it was a personnel matter not related to law enforcement. They also wouldn’t comment on the lawsuit, which was filed Wednesday, the Bulletin newspaper reported (https://bit.ly/1rkYPe9).

“After nine months of cooperating with every aspect of the city’s ‘investigation,’ Eric Bush welcomes the opportunity to present the facts of his case to the members of the community that he has served for the last 23 years,” Farra said.

Bush seeks $2.5 million in economic damages such as lost wages and benefits, damages for emotional distress to be determined at trial, reinstatement, and a court order requiring the city to comply with Oregon law, she said.

As of March 31, the city had paid him nearly $61,000 in wages and benefits since the beginning of the investigation. He had been chief since 2003.

The lawsuit names the city, the interim chief, Capt. Michael Boyd, and the Local Government Personnel Institute, which conducted an investigation for the city.

The institute is described on its website as a joint venture of the Oregon associations of county and city governments that provides technical and consulting services on labor relations and human resources.

Bush remains in good standing with the National Guard, spokeswoman Ursulla Bischoff said.

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Information from: The Bulletin, https://www.bendbulletin.com


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