Saturday, October 08, 2011

Ballard Playing Politics With Police Promotions?

Almost every legal expert in town agrees that the African-American police officers who are suing IMPD because they didn't get promotions under the Department's merit-based promotion system don't have a leg on which to stand. You may recall that it was only a few years ago that white police officers won a reverse discrimination case against the Department brought by the Justice Department because it was skipping over more-qualified white officers to promote minority officers. Nonetheless, Ballard has decided that his Department will promote the plaintiff police officers who sued the city even though there has been no court decision or settlement reached in their case. Fox 59 News' Russ McQuaid received this written explanation from Public Safety Director Frank Straub:

"It is important to note, that if the plaintiffs are successful in their pending litigation, the court will order the department to 'skip' persons on the 2006 or 2008 promotion lists.
“We believe it is in the best interest of the department, the city, and the community to resolve these issues without further litigation.
“It is important that we affirmatively address the fact, that we have struggled for years to recruit, hire, train, and promote persons that are the best and the brightest, and who reflect the diverse community we serve.”
What this means is that the city will now likely face lawsuits again from white police officers who got passed over in promotions because of this decision made on the eve of the election. The city just reached its last settlement in several reverse discrimination lawsuits the county faced as a result of the Coroner's Office's overt discrimination of white employees and contractors in favor of African-Americans. The city will have paid out nearly $1 million in settlements when the dust settles in those cases, in addition to the more than a quarter million dollars it incurred in legal expenses. The labor organization representing the police, the FOP, has publicly stated its opposition to the promotion of the officers. Even the plaintiff's lawyer, Nathaniel Lee, believes the decision to promote the officers is being made simply to win African-American votes in the November election and has indicated he will press forward with his case on behalf of 19 black police officers:
"We have to thank the FOP's endorsement of Melina Kennedy for this because, we're not going to look a gift horse in the mouth, essentially this seems like it is driven by an election,, but it shouldn't be. All of a sudden now the FOP endorses the other candidate because they're dissatisfied with the administration's progress and now we've get settlement overtures. We've been begging to get this settled for over two and a half years." . . .

Late Thursday afternoon Lee sent a letter to Straub thanking him for agreeing to settle the lawsuit, however, "racial discrimination... is a serious problem that you agreed should be corrected. As a result, we cannot and will not dismiss the remaining lawsuit simply for some political advantage."  
Lee noted that only 12 of the 19 plaintiffs in the suit will be offered promotions.

"We respectfully request that you reconsider this last draconian proposal so the matter can be concluded next Tuesday at the merit meeting."
UPDATE: An observant reader reminds me that the city is also still defending a case brought by several white Indianapolis firefighters who allege that they were discriminated against by IFD because of a promotion policy virtually identical to the promotion policy challenged in the lawsuit the Justice Department brought against IMPD. Judge Sarah Evans Barker ruled in favor of the firefighter plaintiffs on a summary judgment motion filed by the city and is allowing their case to proceed to trial.


CircleCityScribe said...

-Funny how today's IBJ has Ballard boast of "diversity."

The current matter is prima facie an attempt to buy votes in the election....and I wonder what member of the Concerned Clergy told Ballard that he could get votes by promoting the unqualified???

My attention is also drawn to Ballard's apparent lie!

Since the last election Ballard has consistently stated he supports merit-based promotions and hiring. As recently as October 1, 2011 Ballard stated that he believes racial quotas are WRONG and that hiring and promotions should be based on MERIT & talent, not race or sex. The Indianapolis Star quoted Mayor Ballard as saying in the debate
( )

"I really do believe that raising the level of standards, making sure we promote the right people into the right positions with performance evaluations and merit-based promotions is extremely important."

I take note that according to this post, Ballard would have been outright LYING to US when he said that during the debate if he chooses to promote unqualified minority candidates to gain some political favor in the upcoming election.

We know Bart lies. Does Ballard lie?

Had enought, Indy?

Concerned Taxpayer said...

So, which is more important?
Having police officers who can read;write a proper police report that can be used to prosecute criminals; understand and obey orders concerning use of lethal force; know when they can legally enter a person's home;
making sure a certain percentage of officers are black?