Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, Nov. 1, 1999

Former LP police officer and city to meet in court

By Luis Puga

The City of Lester Prairie is involved in a legal dispute with former Lester Prairie police officer Andrew Galles over how much money, if any, each party owes the other.

Galles, who resigned from the city's police department on March 25, was initially taken to conciliation court by the city earlier this summer.

The city charged that Galles resigned before a two-year probationary time limit, and therefore, according to an agreement, owed the city $1,552.25 for training and equipment allowances that were provided to him.

Because of that, the city withheld Galles' vacation pay of $196.

According to the ruling of the conciliation court, the city was not allowed to do so because Galles left in "good standing."

This was determined by the fact that he gave two weeks' notice to the city as required in his employment contract. According to state law, Galles was entitled to that pay upon demand, the ruling stated.

Judge Richard Perkins ruled that the vacation pay was to be subtracted from the amount Galles owed the city, and he should pay back the difference.

However, Galles filed a separate case in conciliation court in late summer, claiming that by withholding his vacation pay, the city owed him not only that money, but a penalty as well.

In that matter, Judge William Macklin, ruled in favor of Galles and ordered the city to pay him $1,500.

Now, the city has filed an appeal that will be heard in district court.

City Attorney Kerry Olson describes the situation as a "tempest in a teapot," adding that the city's perspective is that the matter had been settled in the first case.

Since the appeal will be heard in district court, the city will be represented by an attorney, unlike conciliation court where no attorneys are present.

Attempts by the Journal to reach Galles for comments were unsuccessful.

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