Friday, May 03, 2013

The Straub Tab Continues To Add Up

Frank Straub may be gone, but the bills he left behind for taxpayers keep adding up. The City of Indianapolis has settled lawsuits brought by three high-ranking IMPD officers who were demoted in the wake of the botched David Bisard investigation. Straub ordered the three demoted and blamed for the mishandling of the case by their commander, even though the former IMPD Chief Paul Ciesielski tearfully cried like a baby in later declaring in a deposition that he could not find fault in anything they did. The settlements were paid to Darryl Pierce, Ronald Hicks and John Conley. Pierce recently retired with a comfortable pension payment, while Hicks and Conley were awarded promotions recently. Hopefully, the three men share their reward money with Ciesielski for his good acting job.

The payouts to the three men are criminal in my judgment. It is simply an outrage that Hicks and Conley were given promotions before they agreed to drop their lawsuits against the city. There is no legal theory upon which the three men could have possibly recovered had they continued to pursue their cases. They all held non-merit positions at the discretion of Mayor Greg Ballard and the chief of IMPD, who the last I checked are permitted under the law to decide who holds the positions they held. If they simply disliked them personally or distrusted them, they could demote them. If Straub wanted to blame them for failing to ensure that the investigation was handled appropriately instead of just showing up at the crime scene for a circle jerk in front of the TV cameras, he could do that no matter how unfair it might seem to them or how much that might hurt their feelings or egos.

The fact is that the police department badly mishandled the David Bisard investigation by first failing to discern that he was drunk following the fatal collision he had with several motorcyclists stopped at an intersection, administering a portable blood alcohol test at the crime scene and securing other evidence, including what was in his mysterious black bag, and then by failing to have his blood alcohol level tested at a hospital in accordance with Indiana law. The entire ordeal has cost taxpayers millions of dollars because the police agency decided to employ a chronic alcoholic and then cover for that fact. This is just money the Ballard administration paid out at your expense to save it from the further embarrassment of the botched management of the Department of Public Safety and IMPD by Frank Straub and the man who promised to make public safety job one, Mayor Ballard. Only the taxpayers are paying for their incompetence. Not one person at the police agency has been held to account for the gross incompetence exhibited in the David Bisard investigation. This settlement sets a precedent of every senior management employee of IMPD suing the city for defamation every time their feelings are hurt after they are demoted by their superiors. That's bullshit and crap of the first order. Incompetence at the top breeds more incompetence. Expect mismanagement of IMPD to get progressively worse, if that is possible.


CircleCityScribe said...

...what about the history of Frank Straub as well as the fact Spokane paid a 6 figure law suit against Straub for essentially the same things? Could it show that he has a custom, policy and practice of defamation? Could it show negligent hiring and retention?

Oh, and by the way, where is the audit of Frank Straub's budget? Where are the answers on the $18 million dollar mess Straub created with the "Regional Operations Center" that is plagued with problems? Why has there been a hiring freeze at the police dept for so long? Why do we have the smallest police department in modern history? -A lot of questions about the damage Straub caused still need to be answered.

Gary R. Welsh said...

The situation in Spokane from a legal standpoint was entirely different. The former interim police chief had fallen back into a merit position after Straub came aboard. Straub first demoted him from his merit position and then publicly smeared him by claiming that he was mentally unfit to be a police officer, posed a threat to his colleagues, placed him on administrative leave and then ordered him to undergo psychological evaluation after having him physically removed from the department and his guns taken away from him. Straub essentially dropped a nuclear bomb on his law enforcement career. He had a per se case of defamation. These three guys at IMPD always served at the pleasure of the Chief and the Mayor. They knew when they get those appointments they can be busted back to their former merit positions at any moment. They have no entitlement or contractual right to hold those appointed leadership positions within IMPD. When they were removed from their appointed positions and busted back to the merit positions, they were taking the fall for whoever was responsible for the screw up within the Department in the Bisard investigation. That happens all the time in government positions. The basis of their legal claim was not employment-based; they were asserting that they were defamed. A government executive can't defame someone for saying he thinks they failed in their appointed government position and removing them from that at-will appointed position. Anyone who knows anything about the law of defamation will tell you that.

CircleCityScribe said...

what about the outright proven lies Straub made about them? He said they didn't keep in touch about the Bisard situation, when they proved through phone records and deposition they did. He made them come to his office for a press conference to bolster his failed image in the community. He said they failed as leaders, when they did everything expected of persons in their rank.

I agree that an appointed position is "at-will," but also consider that when I looked that up after reading your post above, learned only the Police Chief's will is applied. -and remember, what the police chief said in his deposition!

Gary R. Welsh said...

Questioning how they responded or didn't respond to an emergency situation does not constitute defamation. Straub could argue that his colleagues knew he had a drinking problem or should have known and never brought it to his attention so he could be put in an alcohol treatment program or bothered to mention at the time of the crash that the officer involved was known to be a heavy drinker who was traveling at a high rate of speed when there was no emergency requiring him to be driving that fast at the time. I think it's undisputed that none of the officers involved suggested that Bisard be administered a portable breathalyzer test or that his car be searched during the time they were at the crash scene. There were no communications by any officers whether there was any suspicion he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Whenever there is a fatal accident, that's standard operating procedure to immediately try to make that determination when it involves anyone other than a police officer.

CircleCityScribe said...

Defamation is the proven lies that Frank Straub published in the media.

Straub had no right to demote. The law is clear. Only The Chief had that right, and The Chief said Frank Straub ordered him to do it under sworn testimony as well as defame good, honest, decent, and respected people.

Whenever there is a fatal accident, the standard operating procedure (absent anything else) is to document it and clear the road. Nothing more!

Insurance and the slimer attorneys at 1-800-HURT ME are the only ones who are involved in most fatalities.....

While lives may change, DEFAMATION is uncalled for. Scapegoating is uncalled for.

The only one to blame for the Bisard matter is Frank Straub. Frank Straub by all records I can find eliminated the police legal advisor position that previously gave notice of significant law changes. Nobody knew that blood could not be drawn anywhere prior to this...and the legislature needs to stop over-legislating!!!

If the blood drawn on the street in the back of the ambulance is good enough to make life & death decisions, then it's good enough to prove beyone a doubt. The location of a blood draw is not significant.

I had blood drawn in my living room. The location of the blood draw does not matter. The results will be accurate.