The Arroyo Grande City Council quietly approved an item on Feb. 12, acknowledging that Senior Officer Kimberely Martin suffered a debilitating back injury while on the job—one that will prevent her performing her sworn duties.
The decision marks a definite shift from a stance the city took in its response to a lawsuit Martin filed in September 2010, in which she claimed to be the victim of sexual harassment, retaliation, and disability discrimination at the hands of the Arroyo Grande Police Department and its chief, Steve Annibali. At the time, the city argued that it shouldn’t be held responsible for Martin’s injuries.
The reversal, which was tucked among several routine items on the City Council’s consent calendar, wasn’t discussed publicly. The resolution acknowledging Martin’s “industrial injury” allows her to collect benefits from the California Public Employees’ Retirement System and sever her employment with the police department, effective Feb. 1.
Toward the end of their meeting, council members adjourned to closed session in order to deliberate on the entirety of Martin’s lawsuit. City Manager Steve Adams later told New Times that the city is close to reaching a settlement with Martin and that a full report will be made at the Feb. 26 council meeting.
The city is currently involved in a similar civil lawsuit involving another female officer.