Westering suit is settled

ROLFE – A civil lawsuit filed by the former Rolfe police chief against the city of Rolfe and others has been settled out of court.

Lawyers for the parties involved said they could give no further details on the settlement.

Former chief Don Westering filed suit on Dec. 17, 2012, against the city of Rolfe, City Council members Joni Ham, Lana Pratt and Al Kuchenreuther, and Rolfe citizens Dan Allen and Mary Allen.

The council had voted on Aug. 27, 2012, to recommend that Westering be dismissed for misconduct.

At that meeting, rhe council heard testimony from citizens, including the Allens, both for and against his dismissal.

Complaints included that Westering was too aggressive with his authority, or had abused his authority, and that he was not effective since he did not live in Rolfe. Questions of attitude, professionalism and truthfulness were brought up.

Westering maintained he had done nothing wrong, and said the attempt to remove him was a “personal attack.”

Westering’s lawsuit alleged that defendants had raised false and defamatory statements against Westering which caused irreparable injury to his reputation and affected his ability to work as a police officer.

Steve Kersten, attorney for Pratt, Ham and Kuchenreuther, said no finding of any wrongdoing has been made, and any and all wrongdoing has been denied. He also said the case will be dismissed with prejudice, which means it cannot be refiled.

Kersten said he had no other comment.

Attorney Paul Lundberg, who represented Westering, also had no comment.

Attempts to reach the Allens’ attorney, Jill Davis, were unsuccessful as of press time.

The council vote to remove Westering was 4-1, with Ham, Pratt, Kuchenreuther and Joe Ramaekers voting yes, and David Thoren voting no.

The decision to fire Westering then rested with Mayor Mike Hayek, under Iowa law. Hayek announced two weeks later he would not dismiss Westering. This meant Westering could serve until his term expired in December 2013.

On Dec. 13, 2012, the council voted unanimously to eliminate its police force and instead rely on Pocahontas County sheriff’s deputies to provide police services to the community.

Westering resigned on Dec. 27, 2012.