CLERMONT, Fla. - A seven-year veteran of the Clermont Police Department is hoping the city manager reconsiders a decision to terminate him if he doesn't return to work within 40 days.
Officer Jack Kruse told News 6 he has spent nearly every day at the bedside of his son, Clermont Police Officer Kris Kruse, who was severely burned in an accident at a Super Bowl party in February.
The elder Kruse said he was also badly injured in a paragliding accident in January, which put him in a wheelchair. That's why he said he was surprised when he was summoned to the Clermont Police Department last week.
He posted what he says happened on his Facebook page. "Without discussion, I was handed a memo advising me that the city is requiring me to return to full duty within 40 days, or I lose my job. The city administration knew there was no chance I could meet that deadline, so I am in effect, being let go."
News 6 asked Clermont Police Chief Chuck Broadway for more explanation.
"The Clermont Police Department and the city of Clermont join the community in being sympathetic to the challenges that Officer Jack Kruse and his family are facing," Broadway said in an email.
He explained Kruse has missed 166 days of work since May 2014 -- some paid, some unpaid. He said Kruse has exhausted his days allowed under the Family Medical Leave Act.
He also said the city of Clermont used every option it had to offer the 40-day window to him to return to work.
"While there is sympathy for the Kruse family, it is critical that the police department be sufficiently staffed in order to protect the citizens of Clermont," Broadway wrote. "As Officer Kruse has not been cleared for duty within the timeframes prescribed, Chief Broadway recommended that the city move forward with its obligations to conform with its policies if Officer Kruse cannot return when his leave ends on May 18, 2016. The recommendation was approved."
Three years shy of retirement, Kruse told News 6 he plans to ask the city manager to reconsider the decision.
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