In Wednesday's hearing, Straub faced tough questions from council members and acknowledged his mistakes.The best example that comes to mind is a story a Ballard insider recounted to me last summer of Straub speaking at a church to a group of ministers and repeatedly dropping the f-bomb while speaking. Straub seemed surprised anyone would be offended by his use of the eff word. That's just how they talk out east you see. I wish someone would just get a straight answer from him on why he requires a traveling entourage of police officers to accompany him. Does he really believe the Public Safety Director needs personal body guards like the mayor?
"We're changing an organization. We're trying to go from being a very good organization to being a great organization," Straub told members of the council's Public Safety and Criminal Justice Committee. "We're challenging people to think differently."
Council member Aaron Freeman, a former deputy prosecutor, said Straub's brash leadership has alienated his troops and that his changes will not take hold without "buy-in" from IMPD officers.
"Right now, I fear that some of the members of the Police Department don't feel that buy-in," Freeman said. "What can you do to help the members of the Police Department have that buy-in?" Freeman, a Republican, later voted in favor of Straub, but said it was a difficult decision.
Fraternal Order of Police officials also have criticized Straub for his abrasive management style. An internal FOP survey released two weeks ago showed that just 3.4 percent of police officers said they thought Straub supported them, and only 17 percent said morale in the department was high.
Straub, a native of New York, said he has failed to communicate effectively and noted he is still learning to "speak Hoosier."
Straub deflected some of the problems back onto FOP leaders.
"I think the FOP has a role to play by heralding the good works of our police officers," Straub said.
Before the hearing, FOP President Bill Owensby urged officers to contact their representatives and tell them what they think of Straub. He defended the FOP's actions before the committee.
"The FOP I think is getting a bad rap in terms of being obstructionist," Owensby said in urging the committee to vote against reappointing Straub. "We've got a problem here, folks. It's not going to go away unless the FOP is included.
"We're not being included in anything."
Thursday, December 09, 2010
What Is "Hoosier Speak"?
I learned something new listening to Public Safety Director Frank Straub's testimony before the Public Safety Committee on his reappointment. Apparently we speak a different language in Indiana than they speak in New York, or at least according to Dr. Straub. The Star's Vic Ryckaert quotes Straub as saying in response to criticism by some of his perceived brashness that he is still learning to "speak Hoosier":