Fired Osceola County deputy back at work
SIBLEY, Iowa -- Two years after being fired, a dismissal that was supported by his own union, Osceola County Deputy Daniel Minten is back at work patrolling the roads and protecting the citizens of the county.
A monetary settlement of $270,000 accompanies the job -- $131,000 in back pay, $26,356 allocated to repay the amount Minten received from the Iowa Public Employees Retirement System and more than $112,000 to be sent on to Minten's attorneys, Mohrman & Kaardal, P.A., for Minten's legal fees.
Minten has been restored to the same status he was at the time of the termination and his sick pay will be reinstated as if he had never been fired.
Osceola County Sheriff Doug Weber fired Minten for insubordination in February 2010, after Minten offered to testify against the sheriff in a case involving alleged First Amendment violations.
Video of the traffic stop obtained by the Daily Globe shows Minten asking the woman he pulled over for speeding how her father's case is coming along; he then offers to testify against the sheriff.
Minten claimed he did not know who the woman was when he pulled her over, and admitted during deposition he did not follow standard operating procedures of notifying dispatch he had stopped a car or logging the stop. The sheriff came across the video of the stop while investigating a non-related complaint against Minten.
When Minten filed a lawsuit against in the sheriff in January 2011, he claimed to be engaged in First Amendment-protected speech during the traffic stop. Judge Mark Bennett later upheld that claim, granting the summary judgment and setting the matter for a jury trial. Instead of going to trial, a settlement was reached between the two parties.
The settlement document states Weber and Minten acknowledged and agreed they were entering into an agreement in good faith, and that "they will endeavor to genuinely cooperate with one another without rancor in carrying out their respective duties." Weber also acknowledged he would honor Minten's requests for days off consistent with the union contract on a first-come, first-serve basis as is done for all the deputies in the office.
If Minten is terminated in the future, Weber and the sheriff's office may not rely on any fact that occurred prior to March 1, 2012, in taking any adverse action with respect to Minten's employment. If his employment is terminated for any reason other than "just cause" prior to March 1, 2014, Minten will be entitled to three years severance pay at $66,500 annually. If fired between March 1, 2014 and March 1, 2016, he'll be entitled to two years pay and benefits.
Daily Globe Reporter Justine Wettschreck can be reached at 376-7322.