The city of Sherman has settled a federal suit filed against the city by former Police Chief Otis Henry.
Henry filed suit nearly a year ago against the city saying officials removed him from his position because of his age.
Sherman Attorney Ed Richardson, who is one of several local attorneys who represented Henry in the case, said they couldn’t comment on the settlement particulars because they had signed a confidentiality agreement. Richardson did say that Henry’s legal team did not go into a mediation last week expecting the case to end in a settlement.
Sherman Community & Support Services Manager Nate Strauch said the city could not comment on the matter at this time, but a joint statement will be issued when appropriate.
The lawsuit claimed that Henry worked for the city for 32 years at the police department and was police chief when he left the city’s employment on Dec. 16, 2016. It says Henry was given three performance evaluations as chief and received either the top score of “Excellent/Exceeds Expectations” or the second highest score of “Fully Achieves/Occasionally Exceeds” in each category evaluated. He also received a $5,000 increase in pay in October of that year.
Henry, the suit said, was summoned to the city manager’s office on Dec. 6, where City Manager Robby Hefton said Henry would no longer be police chief after Jan. 1. Henry said he was told he could decide to take retirement or not but he would no longer be chief.
Though the city refused to comment about Henry’s termination at first, it eventually released a statement saying that Henry had been relieved from his position as chief because of “deficiencies in his leadership.”
The statement said the city made the change after assessing the needs of the department and talking with then current SPD officers and former officer.
Henry’s team says that he was discriminated against because of his age, and they filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Herald Democrat Managing Editor William C. Wadsack contributed to this report.