An arbitrator has upheld the November 2003 firing of a Redmond police commander, but she also threw out the most serious charges of witness...

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An arbitrator has upheld the November 2003 firing of a Redmond police commander, but she also threw out the most serious charges of witness tampering, lying and falsifying records.

Gail Marsh, the first female officer hired by the Redmond Police Department, was fired after a nine-month internal investigation into a series of allegations. They included several incidents stemming from the arrest of Marsh’s son on suspicion of underage drinking, as well as investigations into his alleged sale of marijuana and the theft of a Redmond patrol car.

Redmond city and police officials accused Marsh of interfering with the investigations into her son and then breaking a gag order about the internal investigation of the allegations.

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Arbitrator Jane Wilkinson ruled last week that Marsh was guilty of several things, including unbecoming conduct, misusing her position and a conflict of interest, but not the more serious charges.

Still, Marsh shouldn’t be allowed to return to her job because her employees may have lost faith in her ability to do her job, Wilkinson said.

Marsh’s “errors in judgment have irreparably undermined her ability to serve as the manager and leader of rank-and-file police officers, as well as their lieutenants,” Wilkinson wrote.

“And it has irreparably damaged her ability to serve as part of a cohesive management team, something any organization requires.”

Marsh, who worked for the department for 23 years, said yesterday she was disappointed that she couldn’t get her job back. But, she said, “I feel so vindicated that she threw out all these charges that were so unfounded.”

Marsh, 51, said she still wants to work as a police officer, perhaps in another department locally. And Wilkinson said Redmond must clear her personnel file of the most serious charges.

“I’m hoping with my record clear that I can continue in service to a community,” Marsh said. “That’s my passion.”

Redmond officials yesterday called the arbitrator’s ruling fair.

“We wish Gail the best in the future, but we agree with the arbitrator’s decision to uphold the termination,” said Kerry Sievers, Redmond’s human-resources director.

Marsh and the city agreed to binding arbitration after her union filed a grievance.

Ashley Bach: 206-464-2567 or abach@seattletimes.com