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Former Police Chief Sues WCSD

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Just as they make a move to settle a lawsuit filed by the superintendent, the Washoe County School Board is facing another suit-- this one filed by former school police chief Mike Mieras.

Mieras held a press conference Wednesday afternoon to explain his reasoning behind the suit. Although he said he couldn't go into detail about the complaint, he said the conditions of his firing are suspect, and he just wants his job back.

"The circumstances, how I was terminated, that's led up to where we're at here today," Mieras said. "My ultimate goal out of this is truly just to go back and do the job that I truly love to do."

Mieras was fired at the end of June, just 45 days shy of his 20-year mark with the district. That's one point his attorney said is suspect, because at 20 years, district employees qualify to receive a pension.

But Superintendent Pedro Martinez said in an interview Wednesday that the district offered to extend Mieras' severance package so that he would hit that 20-year mark.

The lawsuit also alleges that Mieras' firing was in retaliation for bringing up accusations against Martinez. The complaint describes them as "improper and/or illegal activities."

Martinez said he is not aware of those accusations. Mieras was chief of school police for 12 years, and Martinez said the decision to fire him was made based on a desire to take the department in a different direction.

"I think it's sad, frankly, that I had to make that change," Martinez said, "but it's something I felt I had to do. I have no concerns about any legal liability, because literally every single step of the way, I worked with our internal legal counsel."

Mieras' complaint also draws connections between his firing and Martinez' firing just a few weeks later. The school board's legal documents did claim that Martinez had mishandled various high-profile personnel issues. But both the school board president and Martinez claim that the cases are not connected, and that their close timing is just a coincidence.

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