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Schaffer v. Cass Cnty.

Supreme Court of Nebraska

May 15, 2015

JEREMY SCHAFFER, APPELLANT,
v.
CASS COUNTY ET AL., APPELLEES

Appeal from the District Court for Cass County: DANIEL E. BRYAN, JR., Judge.

Steven M. Delaney and A. Bree Robbins, of Reagan, Melton & Delaney, L.L.P., for appellant.

Erin L. Ebeler, of Woods & Aitken, L.L.P., for appellees.

HEAVICAN, C.J., WRIGHT, CONNOLLY, STEPHAN, MCCORMACK, MILLER-LERMAN, and CASSEL, JJ.

OPINION

Page 144

MCCORMACK, J.

[290 Neb. 893] NATURE OF CASE

This action stems from an employment relationship between the Cass County sheriff's office and Jeremy Schaffer, a deputy sheriff. Schaffer appealed a disciplinary action through a hearing with the Cass County Merit Commission (the Commission). Schaffer appealed the Commission's finding within 30 days of the written order, but not within 30 days of the oral pronouncement. This dispute centers over whether an oral announcement of a decision triggers the 30-day time period for appeal or whether Neb. Rev. Stat. § 23-1734(1) and (2) (Reissue 2012) requires a written and certified order before the appeal period begins to toll.

BACKGROUND

Appellant, Schaffer, was employed as a deputy sheriff at the Cass County sheriff's office. The appellees in this case are Cass County, Nebraska; the Cass County sheriff's office; Cass County Sheriff William Brueggeman; and the Commission. The Commission is an administrative body authorized to affirm, modify, or revoke decisions of management of the Cass County sheriff's office and Cass County.

On January 17, 2014, the sheriff's office informed Schaffer that he was being suspended for 10 days. The notification stated

Page 145

the suspension began on January 15. Schaffer filed a grievance of his suspension. The sheriff's office declared Schaffer's grievance unsubstantiated. Schaffer appealed his grievance to the Commission.

The Commission held a hearing regarding Schaffer's grievance on February 24, 2014. At the hearing, the Commission voted and announced on the record its decision to affirm the [290 Neb. 894] actions of the sheriff's ...


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