Part 1: Kirkwood Sanitation Dept. Faces Litigation

Lance Cutts filed an employment discrimination suit against the Kirkwood Sanitation Department in May.

Lance Cutts, a 24-year veteran of the , filed an employment discrimination suit on May 2 in St. Louis County Court that was moved to federal court in June.

Cutts became angered by perceived aggressive driving tactics by Kirkwood residents on his route as a sanitation department truck driver. He says he felt for his safety. Cutts also said several Kirkwood residents had complained that he had been blocking them from exiting or entering their driveways.

He says he wrote Priscilla Utley, Human Resources Manager for Kirkwood in 2007 and 2009 explaining his concerns.

Cutts says he explained in one letter, that he saw Kirkwood residents putting him in peril and has a videotape of the alleged incidents.

On November 19, 2009 Cutts says Kirkwood Sanitation Department executive director Gary Forshee called Cutts in off of his route and drove him to a meeting at with Utley.

Cutts says he was told by Utley that his action was inappropriate and that he would need to complete counseling before he would be allowed to return to work. Cutts also alleges Kirkwood offered him no course of appeal and that he wanted his videotape to be viewed by Utley. Cutts said police were called to City Hall during the discussion at which point he announced, “In Jesus name I resign.”

Cutts says police gave him a ride back to the sanitation department where he alleges department management members derided him for taking too long to clean out his locker.

On November 24, 2009 Cutts made a visit to the  to convince them of his side of things, when the conversation became adversarial and he felt that police were holding him against his will.

Cutts said he excused himself to use the restroom and when he came back police handcuffed him to an ambulance bed and he was taken to the psychiatric ward where he remained for ten days of observation.

Cutts says that he completed the required counseling while at St. John's and was reinstated as a member of the sanitation department on January 7, 2010. He also alleges that he has lost all of his seniority and has been assigned the most labor intensive of jobs since his return.

Utley, Forshee, and director Todd Rehg are also defendants in the suit.

Utley is out of the office until Monday and a call to her assistant went unreturned. Forshee declined comment citing pending litigation while Cutts says he has been unable to find an attorney willing to represent him.

The next scheduled court date is August 10 in United States District Court at the Thomas F. Eagleton Court House in St. Louis.

Read about another suit against the Kirkwood Sanitation Department .


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