Judge says former North Myrtle Beach public safety director did not deserve grievance hearing

William Bailey, this city’s former public safety director, said Thursday he will appeal a judge’s decision that city officials rightfully denied his request for a grievance hearing following his employment termination in 2010.

Judge William Jeffrey Young ruled this week that Bailey had retired from the public safety department and, therefore, was not entitled to go through a grievance process set up for city employees who are terminated from their jobs.

Bailey has said he was given an ultimatum to resign or be fired after former City Manager John Smithson accused him of lying about the storage of his police handgun on the night it was stolen from his unlocked truck. Bailey says he did not lie to Smithson and that his statements to city officials matched those he made in an incident report filed with the Horry County Police Department.

Bailey filed his retirement paperwork – claiming he left the city under duress – just hours before an April 28, 2010, deadline Smithson had given him to end his employment with the city.

Young, in his ruling, said the court system has no jurisdiction over the city’s grievance process.

“Even if the court had jurisdiction, [Bailey] is not entitled to a declaratory judgment that he was entitled to a grievance hearing because he retired,” Young said.

Bailey – who had been with the public safety department for 20 years – had been suspended and then demoted to lieutenant before Smithson made the decision to terminate his employment. The city allowed Bailey to hold a grievance hearing over his demotion, but denied Bailey’s request for another hearing following his retirement.

Young’s ruling is not related to a separate lawsuit Bailey has filed against the city for wrongful termination. That lawsuit is pending.