SALISBURY -- An independent arbitrator ruled yesterday that the town had no justification to fire former police officer Mark Thomas, adding he should get his job back and be paid for lost salary since his firing.
The news came from Thomas’ attorney, Kenneth Anderson, that the long-awaited ruling in Thomas’ appeal against the town had been handed down by arbitrator Richard Boulanger.
“The arbitrator ordered that Mark be reinstated forthwith and that he be made whole by the town for any lost wages,” Anderson wrote in his e-mail to The Daily News. “We fully expected this outcome from the outset and it is a shame that the town of Salisbury pursued this case so vigorously when there were no facts to support the allegations.”
Harrington could not be reached for comment.
Last night, Thomas said he was relieved by the 36-page finding.
“I first would like to thank the many people who stood by me through this arduous ordeal, and who easily saw through the personal agenda of those involved,” Thomas said. “My family and I are glad this is finally over. The damaged caused to me personally and to my reputation is immeasurable. We all knew that when a neutral person heard the facts and the truth was allowed to be heard that justice would prevail, as is proof in the arbitrator’s written binding decision. I am look forward to returning to my career as a police officer in my home town.”
Allegations against Thomas, 46, arose in January 2011, during an investigation into former Salisbury police chief David L’Esperance, who, in December 2010, had been accused of taking part in criminal behavior. Thomas, a lawyer and detective at the time, was a 24-year veteran of the Salisbury police department. He was accused during the L’Esperance investigation by his fellow officers of a number of issues, including studying for the bar exam while on duty.