Veteran Montgomery Detective Sues Township for Age Discrimination and Retaliation
By Barbara A. Preston | Posted June 17, 2023
Detective Christopher Bleistine, 51, of Lumberton is suing Montgomery Township, claiming he was not appointed as the police department's firearms instructor in 2021 and not promoted to sergeant the following year because of his age, and because he is a whistle-blower. He filed the suit Wednesday, June 14, in Superior Court in Somerset County.
Township Administrator Lori Savron acknowledged the lawsuit, but said "the township does not comment on pending litigation."
Bleistine has served the Montgomery Township Police Department since September 1998, for a total of 24 years and 10 months, according to LinkedIn.
Bleistine states in the lawsuit that his "past whistleblowing essentially stymied any chance of being promoted."
Detective Christopher Bleistine's LinkedIn photo.
Montgomery Township was served with the lawsuit on Friday.
In court documents, Bleistine, stated that as an older member of the police department, he "feels forced to retire as soon as he reaches 25 years of experience." The department leadership hired a younger officer for the position of fire arms instructor, he though Bleistine states in the lawsuit that he is "significantly more qualified and experienced" than the officer who filled the position.
According to the local Gannett news conglomerate, Bleistine applied for an open sergeant position in 2022 and took a two-hour, three-question essay exam. But, he was not one of the top three candidates for the job despite "having at least five years more experience than the second most senior office participating in the process."
Gannett reported that Bleistine asked for his exam score, and tried to obtain it through an Open Public Records Act (OPRA) request, but was denied "for no legitimate/justifiable reason."
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Bleistine, who earned about $128,000 in 2015 according to state police records, concluded in the suit that because he spoke out against the promotional process for the position of fire arms instructor, he angered "executives within the township."