|Chief John McKeown|
On December 20, 2017, an Acting Lieutenant of the Monroe Township (Gloucester County) Police Department sued Police Chief John McKeown and Deputy Chief Stephen Farrell for transferring him to make room for “a person who McKeown liked and had a personal relationship with.”
In his lawsuit, Francis Montone claimed that after joining the Monroe Police Department in 1997, he moved up through the ranks with glowing reviews to become an Acting Lieutenant who supervised the Detective Bureau. He claimed that he was called into Chief McKeown’s office on September 13, 2017 where he was told that he would be reassigned to the Patrol Division effective January 1, 2018. McKeown’s stated reason for move, according to the lawsuit, was that he had “received several oral complaints about [Montone] being too abrasive and intimidating to the men in the Detective Bureau.” Montone claimed that the Chief’s stated reason was a pretext and that the real reason for the transfer was to open the position up to Sergeant Gene Sulzbach, an alleged friend of McKeown’s.
Montone claimed that his transfer violated state law because he was not served with a written complaint and was not afforded a hearing. His lawsuit seeks an injunction preventing his transfer, monetary damages and attorney fees.
Montone’s lawsuit, like all lawsuits, is a list of allegations. Nothing has yet been proven and the burden of proof remains on Montone.