KS Supreme Court rules in favor of ousted KHP Superintendent

Published: Aug. 5, 2022 at 11:33 AM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The Kansas Supreme Court has ruled on 2 issues involved in a Federal Lawsuit filed by former Kansas Highway Patrol Superintendent Mark Bruce against Governor Kelly and Superintendent Herman Jones after Bruce was forced to resign in 2019.

The lawsuit was filed in November of 2020.

Bruce claimed he was forced to resign after his term as superintendent ended but a Kansas Statute guaranteed his right to continued employment with the Highway Patrol at his former rank of major. The State’s attorneys disagreed.

When the State filed a motion to dismiss Bruce’s lawsuit, the US District Court said there was no legal precedent they could find on the motion to dismiss.

Federal Court issued a stay, delaying the lawsuit.

In September of last year, Judge Daniel Crabtree asked the Kansas Supreme Court to provide information on Kansas Law dealing with whether Bruce’s employment provided for him continuing at a lower rank and whether Bruce had to serve a probationary period as superintendent, both questions the State filed in their motion to dismiss.

In a decision released Friday morning, Justice KJ Wall indicated that as a Major, Bruce is considered a classified employee, which would be covered by Kansas law dealing with continued employment at a lower rank. Justice Wall also said since Bruce had permanent status as a classified employee before serving as Superintendent, he did not have to serve a probationary period.

Friday’s Kansas Supreme Court rulings will be sent back to Federal Court where Judge Crabtree will rule on the motion to dismiss the lawsuit.

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