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Tincher, city settle dispute

By BARBARA BEHRENDT
Published May 26, 2007


BROOKSVILLE - The Ed Tincher era has now officially ended at the Brooksville Police Department.

The longtime police chief late Friday delivered to City Hall a signed copy of the severance agreement extended to him by the City Council earlier this week.

He has been on unpaid leave for the past several months as the city ordered an independent investigation into misconduct charges and then grappled with how to deal with findings that accused Tincher of mishandling evidence, poor treatment of his female employees and using intimidation as a management style.

Under the agreement, Tincher will continue on unpaid leave through the end of 2007 but will have no authority or involvement with the department during that time.

In fact, because the council insisted on it when they crafted the agreement during Monday's council meeting, he will not even be allowed to go to the police department unless he has police business or has permission from the city manager.

Tincher's attorney tried to get that provision pulled from the agreement, noting that the former chief had friends in the department, but Mayor David Pugh had insisted on it. He said he worried about police department employees who had made statements about Tincher during the investigation into his misconduct and his presence would make them uncomfortable.

The signed agreement also extends some benefits to Tincher and a $28,000 payment, which interim city manager Steve Baumgartner said would likely be made to the chief on Tuesday.

The city also promises to pursue no other disciplinary actions against him.

Tincher, in turn, agrees to drop his lawsuit against the city and several city officials and he agrees not to pursue litigation against the city, city employees, agents and elected officials over the past issues.

Tincher's attorney Ronald Freeman said earlier this week that the former chief had to weigh whether he wanted to drop the ability to lodge future lawsuits, which Freeman told his client he would have an excellent chance of winning.

The signed agreement ends speculation on that issue.

"It's done as far as I know," Baumgartner said late Friday. "I wish him well.

"For the city, it's closure," he said. "I know for him it's bittersweet and for the city, too, but now we will move on."

Barbara Behrendt can be reached at behrendt@sptimes.com or 352 754-6117.