Posts Tagged ‘Bob Day’

“The evidence partially supports and partially refutes the Guild’s allegations.”

That sentence appears throughout the Rebecca Dean report on the allegations in the Bainbridge Island Police Guild’s vote of no confidence against Chief Jon Fehlman. It could serve as a summary of the report itself, which partially addresses the Guild’s allegations, and is partially inconclusive. It could also be a portrait of the Guild, which comes across as partially a group of dedicated officers and partially a band of immature tattletales.

The allegations in the Guild’s no confidence vote range from relatively minor judgment errors or misunderstandings on Fehlman’s part, to rehashing of previously resolved union complaints, to petty gossip and rumor, to at least one falsehood. For a summary, go here.

Now that Fehlman has resigned, issues about his performance are no longer relevant. But the rest of the department remains–and Bainbridge will be well served if the police management study proposed by Interim City Manager Morgan Smith looks at the BIPD’s organization and culture, the influence of the Guild, the quality of each member’s performance, and the attitude they have toward each other, their work and to the members of the community they serve.

As a glimpse into BIPD culture, one Guild allegation stands out for its dishonesty and recklessness: the claim that Fehlman falsely stated in deposition testimony that he gave an oral reprimand to Lieutenant Chris Jensen for providing faulty information about the Ostling shooting. The Guild wrote in its no confidence complaint: “The Chief’s statement under oath violates policy and state laws relating to perjury and false swearing.” [emphasis in the original]

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I was hoping the Bainbridge Island Police Guild and its supporters would have the patience to wait for Rebecca Dean to complete her investigation of the charges in its no confidence vote against Chief Jon Fehlman and issue her report to the City. Her report was originally estimated to take 4-6 weeks to complete, which means it may be issued any day now.

Unfortunately, the Guild is attempting to try its charges against Chief Fehlman in the court of public opinion, rather than wait for the investigation process to be completed. A couple of weeks ago, the Guild posted a feature, “The Truth Patrol,” on its website, which takes aim at an unnamed blogger (yours truly) as well as City Manager Morgan Smith (see the end of this post) and Chief Fehlman. Today, former Bainbridge Police officer Scott Anderson has sent a Trippwire missive, touting the “Truth Patrol” and its “honest information.” As a result, I’m posting the responsive email I sent to Morgan Smith and Guild President Bob Day.

Dear Bob and Morgan,

Kim Hendrickson sent out a link to the guild’s website, where there is a response to my post about the chief’s admin leave.

It’s unfortunate that the guild has chosen to put more heavy handed spin into the public record. It looks now as if the guild is trying to step up political pressure on the City Manager in a manner that is troubling.

I took copious notes during my interview with the lieutenants and I stand by my characterization of their remarks. Bob Day posted a comment on the post, noting one correction, which I made. If he had a problem with the accuracy of anything else in the article he certainly would have corrected that as well, but he did not.¬† (more…)

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In a wide-ranging conversation with me on Thursday, Bainbridge Island Police Guild President Bob Day and long-time guild member Lieutenant Chris Jensen described department frustrations with Chief Jon Fehlman, and a city hall management that did not take their concerns seriously.

For more than two hours over coffee in a Winslow cafe, the two lieutenants talked about their passion for policing and their complaints against Fehlman.

They described a chief who is detached from his department, rarely attending staff meetings or taking input from his lieutenants. They argued that during his tenure he hasn’t prepared a strategic plan or any goals for the department, and hasn’t accomplished any reforms. Department frustration built up until guild members felt they had no choice but to take a no-confidence vote.

The possibility of the vote was first raised about eight months ago, Day said. But city hall management thought the timing was unfavorable, so the vote was delayed. The guild met with Interim City Manager Morgan Smith 2 1/2 months ago and again expressed concerns. But she took no action. “That was the catalyst for the no-confidence vote,” Day said.

He denied that the vote was taken due to the chief’s discipline record. In fact, Lt. Jensen suggested that increased discipline in a department “can indicate lack of good guidance and leadership from people above” because without leadership from their superiors, employees can become sloppy in their work habits.

They admitted that the original agenda for the June guild meeting did not include the vote, and was amended after two lieutenants received pre-disciplinary notices on June 8. But, they said, the vote was added to the agenda because they were trying to work around the availability of voting members, not as a reaction to the pre-disciplinary notices.

The lieutenants said the main issues for them are Felman’s lack of leadership and his lack of fairness and consistency in applying rules and standards. They were not as clear about the specific charges in the no confidence letter as they were about their dissatisfaction with Fehlman’s management style in general.


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