Cloquet to pay former police officer until Sept. 30
A Cloquet police officer separated the force after multiple allegations of misconduct will remain an employee of the city until Sept. 30, according to the separation and release agreement approved by the City Council on Tuesday, Dec. 18.
Scott Beckman, an 18-year veteran Cloquet Police Department, left the force following a 4-3 City Council vote on a separation agreement among the city, Beckman and the Teamsters Union Local 346, which represents Cloquet patrol officers.
Mayor Dave Hallback and councilors Roger Maki, Steve Langley and Barb Wyman voted in favor of the agreement, which provides a number of different payments to Beckman. Councilors Jeff Rock, Dave Bjerkness and Kerry Kolodge voted against it.
The separation and release agreement allows Beckman to remain an employee of the city until Sept. 30, but he will be "on leave and not performing and work for the city" until that date, according to a statement provided by City Administrator Aaron Reeves.
The separation agreement approved by the City Council and signed by Beckman, Hallback, Reeves and a representative of the police union, allows Beckman to continue collecting his base monthly salary of $4,500 until Sept. 30.
The agreement also provides a lump sum payment of $2,000 to resolve a grievance and a lump sum payment equivalent to Beckman's accrued vacation and compensatory time hours as well as one third of his accrued sick leave hours.
Beckman will not be eligible for health and dental benefits during the period he's on leave, according to the agreement.
In the agreement, Beckman also agreed he will not apply for any position with the city and is not entitled to reinstatement or reemployment with the city.
The city and Beckman agreed to not make any disparaging or defamatory statements about one another regarding Beckman's employment with the city.
While Beckman has had a number of incidents of misconduct both on and off duty, Reeves said no new allegations of misconduct "triggered" Beckman's dismissal.
Beckman was suspended for a total of 11 days in August 2016 after being found guilty of lying to his commander in February 2016 and falsifying an application for a search warrant in March 2016. Then-Cloquet Police Chief Steve Stracek recommended Beckman's employment be terminated at that time, but a vote not to dismiss at a special meeting Aug. 24, 2016, put forward by Hallback, a former Cloquet police officer, and supported by Langley, ended in a 3-3 tie. Hallback, Langley and Rock voted not to dismiss; while Bjerkness, Kolodge and then-Councilor Lara Wilkinson voted against it. Maki was absent.
A statement issued by acting Carlton County Attorney Jeff Boucher on Wednesday, Dec. 19, said 18 cases involving Beckman have been dismissed and four other cases submitted for review were not charged.
The County Attorney's Office is reviewing an additional 25 cases involving Beckman.
The statement by the city of Cloquet said it is aware of the ongoing review of cases involving Beckman by the County Attorney's Office, but made no comment because it "implicates private personnel data" on Beckman.
The statement by the city of Cloquet also said "it will continue to take appropriate personnel action and disclosure to prosecutors related to any of its city police officers who engage in conduct that requires disclosure to prosecutors under applicable legal standards."