JANESVILLE

The Janesville Police and Fire Commission on Tuesday dismissed one of two charges filed against Fire Chief Randy Banker by a former employee.

A hearing will begin Feb. 15 on the remaining charge.

Donald “Jeff” Bowen late last year filed charges against Banker, claiming that the chief inappropriately removed Bowen from a volunteer explorer post and later filed a dishonest police report about Bowen.

After reviewing in closed session Banker’s motion to dismiss both charges and Bowen’s objection to the motion, the commission dismissed the former charge but not the latter.

According to a written decision, the first charge wasn’t severe enough that the board could impose a minimum one-day suspension without pay under just-cause state statutes.

“It would be a waste of municipal resources to conduct a hearing based on charges that do not provide a sufficient basis to impose the minimum discipline that can be imposed by the PFC (Police and Fire Commission) under the just-cause standards,” the decision reads.

The second charge is more serious, according to the decision.

Assuming it is true, which is what the commission did when deciding whether to dismiss it, Bowen makes “sufficient allegations” that claim Banker “knowingly made a false police report and did so for retaliatory purposes,” the decision reads.

It will take a trial to determine Banker’s intent when filing a police report about Bowen. If allegations in the second charge are upheld, they could constitute just cause for discipline under the city’s personnel policy, according to the decision.

Banker’s hearing is scheduled for Feb. 15 and 22 and March 1. It could play out like a courtroom trial, with witnesses called and testimony heard, and the commission eventually will determine if any wrongdoing occurred.

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