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Sergeant's punishment for remark is upheld

An arbitrator has upheld the three-day suspension without pay for a Dunedin police sergeant who called the mayor a derogatory name, said City Manager John Lawrence. In April, Sgt. Jeffrey D. Loomis said he acted appropriately in calling the mayor a scum bag, reversing his testimony at a police internal affairs investigation in December. Pinellas County Police Benevolent Association executive director William Lau Bach said that Loomis' words were constitutionally protected speech because they were his opinion. Loomis said the name-calling was spurred by city commissioners' 3-2 vote in December to ask the sheriff to submit a contract for law enforcement services. Loomis would not comment on the arbitrator's decision. Mayor Tom Anderson could not be reached. Said Lawrence about the decision: "It basically says that being discourteous to other people is not in style."

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