UPDATED: Former Marana assistant police chief's firing overturned - Tucson Local Media: Pima Pinal

UPDATED: Former Marana assistant police chief's firing overturned

In 3-2 vote, personnel board says Harris can return

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Posted: Thursday, December 11, 2008 12:00 am

Former Marana assistant police chief Barbara Harris can have her job back if she wants it.

Voting 3-2 on Wednesday, Dec. 10, the Marana Personnel Action Review Board (PARB) overturned her firing, according to a statement from town officials. The board represents the final arena for town employees to appeal hiring and firing decisions.

“I'm pleased and gratified that the PARB has seen fit to restore my position as assistant chief of the Marana Police Department,” Harris said in a statement released Thursday afternoon through a spokeswoman. “I am looking forward to continuing my work in partnership with members of the police department, Marana officials and employees and the entire Marana community.

Harris was fired June 20, three months after she was placed on leave and the Marana Police Officers Association presented a vote of no confidence in her and then-chief Richard Vidaurri.

Before signing on as Marana’s assistant police chief two years ago, Harris had a lengthy career with the Tucson Police Department and had served as the interim police chief at Pima Community College.

The day of her firing, Harris filed a gender discrimination complaint against the town, alleging a hostile work environment at the police department. The following week, two female police officers in the department filed similar complaints.

“The termination of Assistant Chief Harris was a disgrace to the Town of Marana," said attorney Minnette Burges, who represented Harris before the personnel board and in her discrimination complaint against the town.

The personnel board that ruled in Harris’ favor is composed of three employees and two citizens who serve for three and two years, respectively.

Harris will return to the department as soon as possible, according to the town statement.

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