When the termination hearing of Forest Park police Sgt. Dan Harder resumes on July 7 one familiar participant may be missing.
Harder attorney Jeanine Stevens may not be able to continue because she is scheduled to have two surgeries, one on her left wrist and one on her arm in June. She said she will need six to eight weeks time to recover.
Her ability to remain on the case is in doubt, she informed both Harder and the Board of Fire and Police Commissioners last week.
The board, impatient with the slow, some might say glacial pace of the hearing which began last September has decided to pick up the pace and scheduled hearing dates for four consecutive Thursdays in July in an attempt to conclude the hearing.
The commission decided to have a six week break until the next hearing to allow Harder adequate time to obtain a new attorney if Stevens is unable to continue.
“The Board is giving Ms. Stevens and Sgt. Harder six weeks to determine what to do about counsel,” said hearing officer Chuck Hervis.
“The Board feels six weeks is not unfair to Sgt. Harder. The Board was concerned that scheduling was taking a prolonged track. The Board feels it is very likely that we can conclude the process by the end of July.”
Harder was asked after last week’s hearing what he would do if Stevens is unable to represent him in July.
“I have no idea,” Harder said.
Stevens was asked if she thought she would be able to represent Harder in July.
“I have a medical issue and I don’t know,” said Stevens.