BRIGHAM CITY — A former police officer here has filed a lawsuit against the city after he was fired for an alleged extramarital affair.
Ironically, Mayor Dennis Fife signed off on the termination, according to the suit filed by Ronnie Aldridge.
Fife went public Monday about his own affair, asking for forgiveness from citizens as part of his "repentance process" of the past seven months.
He announced that he plans to stay on as mayor, although some members of the Brigham City City Council advised against it, Fife said, after he confessed to the council in a closed-door meeting last Friday.
An Aldridge family member contacted media about the lawsuit after hearing of Fife’s admissions, calling the mayor hypocritical.
Aldridge, in the suit filed in October in 1st District Court, claims he was first suspended, then fired for extensive texting and phone contacts — several hundred over a two-month period — with a fellow officer, a female, to whom he was assigned as Field Training Officer. He had filed for divorce from his wife at the time.
City policy banned off-hours contacts between FTOs and trainees. Aldridge, who held the rank of corporal, also visited the trainee’s home, the suit said, after he was warned in writing against the initial contacts. The visit led to a two-day suspension, without pay, in August 2011.
Aldridge was placed on paid administrative leave Dec. 30, 2011, lasting several weeks, after a verbal argument with his estranged wife in Perry led to a trespassing charge. The Perry prosecutor later dismissed the charge.
Rick Bosworth, Brigham City human resources coordinator, wrote in a Jan. 10, 2012, letter to Aldridge before his Jan. 18 firing: "Your behavior has demonstrated poor judgement which has created disruption and distrust in the Police Department and with your co-workers.
"Please be aware that violation of these City policies constitutes grounds for discipline, up to and including termination."
The suit lists the Brigham City Corporation as the sole defendant, but names Police Chief Paul Tittensor, Fife and Bosworth as the main actors in the claims of wrongful termination.
Bosworth returned a call made Tuesday to the mayor for comment to say city employees would make no statement on the lawsuit.
"Because of the situation with Ronnie being a matter of litigation, our attorney has advised us not to comment," he said.
The suit seeks reinstatement of Aldridge and payment of his lost income and benefits from Jan. 18 forward, as he hasn’t found work in law enforcement since.
The city’s’ wrongful termination of Aldridge after nearly 11 years with the department "continues to cloud predictably his peace officer employment opportunities," reads the suit.