SILT, Colorado - A former police department employee is suing the town, along with Mayor Dave Moore and Trustee Paul Taylor, over allegations that she lost her job largely because of political and professional opposition against the two men.
Janet Bodrogi of Rifle filed a civil suit Nov. 12 seeking unspecified damages for wrongful retaliatory discharge, defamation, emotional distress and other allegations.
The mayor, contacted Tuesday, said that he and others on the town council have been instructed to avoid discussion of the lawsuit with the media.
"The whole board, everybody who was there at that meeting, has been told the same thing," Moore remarked to the Post Independent, declining to elaborate further.
Town administrator Pamela Woods, too, said she and others on the town staff could not comment on the suit.
Woods referred questions to town attorney Lee Leavenworth or to the town's insurance carrier, the Colorado Intergovernmental Risk Sharing Agency (CIRSA).
Leavenworth could not be reached Tuesday afternoon for comment on the suit.
According to the 12-page lawsuit, filed in Ninth District Court by attorney Richard Dally, Bodrogi was dismissed from her job on Dec. 31, 2011, after Moore and Taylor heaped criticism on her during at least two different meetings of the Silt Board of Trustees, and claimed they had the authority to fire her.
Bodrogi worked for the department from 2004 through 2011, starting as a part-time clerk under then-Chief Paul Taylor and, under current Chief Levy Burris, rising to the position of full-time records clerk and evidence technician.
The suit accuses Moore and Taylor of interference with Bodrogi's employment contract, and of engaging in a conspiracy to have her terminated.
According to the suit, Bodrogi's dismissal was at least partially in retaliation for her political opposition to Moore and Taylor.
The suit states that she took part in "an official investigation of Paul Taylor when Taylor was a Silt police officer," and "opposed the election of Paul Taylor as a trustee."
In addition, according to the suit, Bodrogi "participated and supported a recall effort against Mayor Dave Moore" in 2008.
"She has been a thorn in my side," Moore is alleged to have said at a meeting on Nov. 14, 2011, along with the comment that he was "(g)lad that the elimination of Janet Bodrogi's job has been resolved."
Moore and Taylor, a former Silt police officer, chief and detective, are together quoted in the lawsuit as saying that town officials "cannot justify the position of employee Janet Bodrogi" and also calling on the police department to monitor her performance on the job "on a daily basis."
The suit asks for a trial by a six-person jury.