The city should restore the rank of lieutenant to demoted former Entertainment District Unit leader, Randall Maale, — or say why not, a circuit judge has ruled.
Judge Edward Fine has ordered the city to either restore Maale, or come to a court hearing set for Aug. 23 to demonstrate why it shouldn’t.
Maale was one of the top-ranking officials in the department and ran the high-profile downtown unit, which covers Clematis Street and the waterfront. He had been promoted from lieutenant to captain in September 2010.
But the then-22-year officer was fired in early January 2012 after coming under three internal affairs investigations — into his having a relationship with a subordinate, hosting a private party attended by on-duty officers and working out with an injured officer.
The firing was changed to a steep demotion — three ranks, back to patrol officer. His base pay dropped from $109,000 to about $73,000.
The Police Benevolent Association filed a grievance, but the city refused to hear it, arguing that, as a captain, he had not been part of the PBA representation contract. The PBA argued that since he now was an officer, he now was eligible.
A judge later forced arbitration but the arbitrator argued Maale’s only route for appeal was through the city’s civil service board or the courts.
The PBA then sued in Palm Beach County Circuit Court on July 16, saying the city improperly denied Maale an avenue of appeal in his demotion.
Fine ruled on July 26 that the suit “sufficiently pleads a clear legal right that Officer Maale be returned to his prior service rank of lieutenant.”
Ralph King, the PBA attorney who filed the suit, has not returned messages requesting comment. The city declined to comment.
Staff writer Jorge Milian contributed to this story.