Former police chief's attorney says council was misled

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SHERMAN, TX -- The attorney for the now former Sherman police chief says their age discrimination case is headed to federal court.
This, as new details about how he was forced out are coming to light in documents the city was ordered to turn over by the state attorney general.

Now former chief Otis Henry's retirement was announced by city manager Robby Hefton on December 8th.

Four days later, former Sherman officer and the city's human resources manager, Zachary Flores, was announced as Henry's replacement.
The next month, Henry filed an age discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

That complaint states that Hefton told Henry his position as chief was over effective January 1, 2017, and he could take retirement, but even if he didn't, he would still be removed as chief.

Hefton then released a statement January 27th, saying a change was necessary at the department "due to deficiencies in his (Henry's) leadership."

Now, emails obtained by News 12 through an open records request, show that Flores was chosen before Henry's retirement was official.

In an email December 7th, Hefton writes to the city council:
"The conversation with Otis did not go well. He has engaged an attorney...I don't know if he's going if ultimately (sic) he's going to accept anything or if he just wants his day in court."

The next day, December 8, an email from Hefton to council states:
"There has been a major breakthrough in working with Otis...he has agreed to the terms of the separation agreement..."

He continues by saying "I will likely be announcing Zach's appointment late tomorrow or sometime this weekend."

This was what the city's spokesperson Nate Strauch told the public at that time:

"He wanted to retire to move on, so it's a bit of a sad day here in Sherman."

But Henry's attorney, Ed Richardson, says the city's public statements just weren't true.

"Otis never signed an agreement. He'd been kept in the dark about what the real scheme was."

Flores was confirmed by the city council December 19. Richardson says they have received a right to sue letter from the EEOC and will file their lawsuit in federal court in the very near future.

We reached out to Hefton, who said he could not comment due to pending litigation.

A call to city attorney Brandon Shelby was not returned. Now current chief Zachary Flores was also unavailable for comment.