Police guild in Kirkland withdraws from talks
Seattle Times Eastside bureau
The Kirkland Police Officers Guild has withdrawn from discussions with city officials, protesting the city's handling of an investigation into complaints made against Police Chief Pleas Green.
In a letter to City Manager David Ramsay, guild attorney James Cline says the membership wants to know why Green has not been placed on administrative leave in light of the number of complaints filed against him and other command personnel.
Green, who could not be reached for comment, served 12 years as Yakima's police chief before being named police chief of Kirkland five years ago. In an earlier interview, he said the department is addressing a number of the guild's concerns and cited a report that outlines more than a dozen steps that will be taken, including holding regular labor-management meetings, making weekly command meetings open to all department employees and a forming a team to address specific operational concerns.
Cline said among other things, the guild objects to the city's use of a crisis manager and industrial psychologist to try to solve some of the internal problems in the department and to delays in the investigation.
Earlier this year, the guild filed about 100 unfair-labor complaints against Green with the state Public Employment Relations Commission ranging from overtime issues, misconduct and promotions to transfers and unanswered grievances.
"It is our understanding that the chief has not only been accused of fairly serious misconduct, but his credibility has been found lacking in his responses to a number of these inquiries," the letter says.
Ramsay said that when misconduct allegations are made, administrators look at the circumstances and the potential for something negative happening.
"If those factors are present, we put an employee on leave. But in this matter, those factors weren't present," he said.
The guild also brought up a sex-discrimination complaint recently made against Green and asked why the guild hasn't been made privy to the scope of the complaint.
"The incident allegedly occurred several years ago and recently came to light. We cannot comment until the investigation is completed," Ramsay said.
He said that the city routinely uses an industrial psychologist for hiring and for preparing a confidential employee survey.
Ramsay described the guild's letter as "legal adversarial rhetoric that does not help the matter."
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