How is it that our chief law enforcement officer, Police Chief Mike Koval doesn’t have to follow the rules? First, he gets found guilty, but gets no punishment. (that never happens to you and me) And now, the good ol’ boys want to grant him further privileges, and $22,000, for being found guilty? The council should be thanking Sharon Irwin and Shadyara Kilfoy-Flores for doing what they didn’t have the guts to do, and they should pay their legal bills – and it would likely be far less than $22,000.
I’ve been feeling a tad cranky ever since I read the news last night that Mayor Paul Soglin and Paul Skidmore want the taxpayers to foot the bill for our arrogant, belligerent, rules-don’t-apply-to-me, no-one-can-tell-me-what-to-do, lead with my chin police chief. Everyone remembers how this all started, right? His infamous blog post where he throws a temper tantrum because they are going to spend money to look into how his department is run, the nasty council meeting where he pounds on the table and demands to be treated as if he is a member of the council and then the incident where is is found guilty of violating his own rules of conduct for calling the grandmother of Tony Robinson, who his officer shot and killed, a raging lunatic. He should not be rewarded for his petulance. And we shouldn’t reward him for not following the rules, but letting him get out of following more rules. I feel like this is crazytown. We’re drowning in white male privilege.
Last September, the Council passed a resolution saying that they would “provide the same treatment for expenses incurred by the Police and Fire Chiefs in defending complaints before the Police and Fire Commission as the City provides to other Police Officers and Firefighters.”
It says, in part:
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Common Council commits to providing the police chief and the fire chief the same protections provided to other police officers and firefighters facing complaints at the PFC, and to exercise its discretion under sec. 62.09(7)(e), Wis. Stats., to reimburse the chiefs for the reasonable costs and fees incurred, if the chief prevails in the proceedings; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that upon conclusion of any such proceedings, an additional resolution will be presented to the Council with the chief’s request for reimbursement and proposing payment of such reasonable costs and fees, if the chief prevails in the proceedings.
This is the action part of the resolution. The key word here being “prevails”. I don’t think he prevailed. In fact, the Police and Fire Commission said in their written findings:
Although we conclude that Respondent’s comments made in the Stairwell Incident do in fact constitute misconduct, we also conclude that such misconduct does not warrant any of the extraordinary disciplinary actions available to us.
So, he was guilty, they just chose not to punish him. Now, we get to argue about the word prevail. Because they also said “On the entire record in these proceedings, including the foregoing the Statements of Charges in these matters are each dismissed, with prejudice.” So, he violated the code of conduct, but they chose not to punish him and dismissed the charges and now we pay the bill.
The chief had the momentary lapse of reason . . . he said the words . . . we shouldn’t have to pay for that. Just like many people who do things, often illegal, who had that momentary lapse of reason, he should be held responsible. Other people, when they don’t hold themselves to the high standards we expect end up with criminal records (their cases don’t get dismissed), pay fines or do time (they get punished), and they often pay for their own attorney fees unless they are poor enough. The police chief, of all people, can afford this, wasn’t punished and they kept his personnel record clean for him. We taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay for his feet of clay . . . we’re already paying $400,000 because he won’t cooperate or collaborate.
This stinks. The alders should pay the legal fees for Sharon and Shady . . . for sticking their necks out, challenging the system, and doing what no alder dared to do. They didn’t want to pay the lawyers fees to take the chief to the PFC . . . they should be doing a resolution thanking the women for their bravery, and reimbursing their costs. If this is how the system will work, who will ever use the PFC process in the future? Or maybe, that’s the point. To make sure no one else ever does.
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