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Bowker v. City of Fort Madison

Court of Appeal of Iowa

August 21, 2013

WILLIAM BOWKER, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
CITY OF FORT MADISON, IOWA and CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION OF CITY OF FORT MADISON, Defendant-Appellees.

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Lee County (North), Michael J. Schilling, Judge.

A police officer appeals a district court order upholding a decision to terminate his employment.

Curtis Dial of Law Office of Curtis Dial, Keokuk, for appellant.

Cameron A. Davidson and Benjamin J. Patterson of Lane & Waterman, L.L.P., Davenport, for appellees.

Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Vaitheswaran and Bower, JJ.

VAITHESWARAN, J.

A police officer appeals a district court order upholding a decision to terminate his employment.

I. Background Facts and Proceedings

William Bowker was a police officer with the City of Fort Madison. For approximately sixteen months, he was assigned to a county narcotics task force. He was removed for not being an effective member and returned to his regular duties with the Fort Madison Police Department.

Shortly thereafter, Bowker began a romantic relationship with the wife of the Fort Madison police chief, who was herself a reserve officer. On learning of the relationship, the chief confronted Bowker, who initially denied the allegation.

The police chief took his concerns about the relationship to the Fort Madison city manager, who authorized an investigation. The investigation was expanded to include allegations of misconduct while Bowker was part of the narcotics task force.

Following the investigation, the city manager terminated Bowker's employment. The Fort Madison Civil Service Commission affirmed the decision, as did the district court. This appeal followed.

II. Analysis

Bowker raises several issues that, in his view, mandate reversal of the termination decision: (1) the district court's reliance on conduct that took place while he was on the drug task force, (2) the district court's reliance on his relationship with the police chief's wife, and (3) the commission's failure to comply with the procedures set forth in Iowa Code chapter 80F (2009). The third issue was not raised or decided by the district court and, for that reason, was not preserved for our review. See Civil Serv. Comm'n v. Johnson, 653 N.W.2d 533, 537 (Iowa 2002) ("[W]e limit our review to the same issues raised in the district court."); Meier v. Senecaut, 641 N.W.2d 532, 537, 540 (Iowa 2002) ("It is a fundamental doctrine of appellate review that issues must ordinarily be both raised and decided by the district court before we will decide them on appeal, " and, The rule requires a party seeking to appeal an ...


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