BAZETTA TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WKBN) – An officer with Bazetta Township police who was passed over for a promotion in 2018 took his case to arbitration and won.

According to the arbitration award, Nathan Greathouse was unfairly passed over for the position of sergeant in favor of another officer that then police chief Michael Hovis liked better.

Greathouse was promoted to the position of sergeant at the township trustees’ meeting on Tuesday and given back pay at the sergeant rank, according to the arbitration award that was accepted by trustees.

The arbitrator wrote that both Greathouse and co-applicant Jake Abbott had equal qualifications but that Greathouse had more seniority and therefore should have been awarded the promotion.

The police union said that Hovis “manipulated the promotional process to the grievant’s (Greathouse) disadvantage.”

“Hovis did not limit himself to tampering with the application process. He actively tried to pick the next sergeant by approving training for Abbott then denying that same training to Greathouse,” the arbitrator wrote.

The arbitrator found that Hovis used several methods to deny Greathouse the promotion including accepting letters of recommendation about Abbott, of which most were dated after the application deadline and were not requested in the application process, providing Abbott with advice and a training application that he did not provide Greathouse, among other things.

In addition, the arbitrator wrote that the “most damning testimony about former chief Hovis came from his brother Paul Hovis,” a former trustee, who said that Greathouse “did not get a fair shake” and that former chief Hovis was known to hold a grudge and that he had a personal dislike for Greathouse.

Bazetta Police Chief Christopher Herlinger said that both Abbott and Greathouse have the rank of sergeant.