A former Hermann policeman and candidate for the police chief’s job is suing the city claiming age discrimination.
Tracy Gutierrez of New Haven claims in the lawsuit to be heard in Division 2 of Gasconade County Circuit Court that the city brushed him aside in favor of policeman Marlon Walker. Gutierrez claims Walker was younger and less qualified for the position.
The lawsuit, which was filed Feb. 14, is set for a hearing on Thursday, May 4, in front of Circuit Judge Ike Lamke.
Gutierrez is asking the court to award him at least $25,000 and payment of attorneys fees. According to the case file, he is represented by a Lake St. Louis law firm.
As alleged by Gutierrez, when the police chief’s job came open with the resignation of Frank Tennant, then-Mayor Tom Shabel encouraged Gutierrez to apply. In his petition to the court, Gutierrez said he was told by Shabel that the job description would be tailored to him to ensure he received the job.
After applying, he interviewed twice with the mayor and the Board of Aldermen.
However, the aldermen opted to hire Walker, who Gutierrez claims was “younger and less qualified” and did not meet the qualifications set out for the job.
In the case file, Gutierrez said that when he talked to Shabel about why the BOA chose Walker, he said he was told that the aldermen felt a “younger, less-experienced person would be more controllable.”
Gutierrez, who joined the Hermann Police Department in 2009, resigned his position April 15, 2015.
Alderman Bruce Cox, who serves as the president pro tem of the board, said the board favored Walker because it felt he was the most qualified. He declined to comment further on the matter, citing the pending litigation.
Gutierrez, who took his argument to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Missouri Commission on Human Rights, which issued an intent to sue in November of last year, also is alleging retaliation on the part of the city saying he was treated badly after Walker was hired.