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San Gabriel Valley Digest

South Pasadena : Police Chief Seeks Damages

November 28, 1985

Police Chief Samuel L. Buntyn has filed a $20-million claim against the city, alleging that the leak of a confidential letter of termination damaged his name and reputation and invaded his privacy.

Buntyn, who has been police chief for eight years, has been on medical leave since June, when the city asked him to resign. City Manager John Bernardi in August sent Buntyn a letter of termination citing 10 charges, including allegations that the chief sexually harassed a subordinate, attempted to interfere with a promotion review board and kept secret files on city officials. A copy of the letter was obtained by The Times.

In a claim filed on Nov. 8, Buntyn, 41, said that the alleged damages stemmed from the disclosure of information contained in Bernardi's letter. Named in the complaint are Bernardi, all five City Council members, acting Police Chief William Reese, City Atty. Charles Vose and three other city officials.

Vose said the city has referred the matter to its insurance adjuster, which is standard procedure. If the city does not act on the complaint within 45 days, it is deemed denied, he said.

Neither Buntyn nor his attorney could be reached for comment. Buntyn is awaiting scheduling of a personnel hearing to review the charges against him, Bernardi said.

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