Sunday, July 1, 2007

No Other Words: Lying and Scapegoating

During the Q & A session available on WTAE, Mayor Ravenstahl says:

The way the civil service laws are written out, these individuals, by way of a test, are entitled to promotion, and you have to disprove or show just cause to not give them that promotion.

If all the reporters had then left the room to write their stories, he very clearly would have been lying. Fortunately for him, the question later was raised:

The civil service laws seem to show that there is a choice there: you can pick one out of a group of four, for example. Can you reconcile this?

Ravenstahl's answer:

First of all, I didn't make the choice, and I was not consulted on the choice in terms of two of the three individuals, and I stand by that.

So he implicitly concedes that there was a choice; he just claims he wasn't in on it. He continues:

Certainly that's something we're considering in the future: when sergeants and lieutenants are promoted, that there is some input from the administration, perhaps at least some briefing, or some opportunity for discussion.

It doesn't currently allow that -- um, shouldn't say doesn't allow it -- doesn't exist or require it -- and again that's something when we look at the policies and procedures in the future, will be considered for implementation.

Chief Nate Harper, when asked why he made those choices, gave a straight answer:

The standard has been, sergeants and lieutenants, there's a competitive test. If they take the written test, they appear on the list. And usually we go straight down the list.

In other words, whoever wrote the civil service laws must have intended that somebody ought to be examining this list and making educated selections, but that practice has fallen into disuse.

Instituting a formal review panel will only force his administration to pay attention -- something that they were never prevented from doing, and something that he suggests may not have changed anything with regard to these promotions, anyway.

To suggest that the policies and procedures are "obsolete and flawed" is a pretty disingenuous way to avoid blame.


When asked by Bob Mayo whether he accepts any personal responsibility for what went wrong in the process, Ravenstahl responds:

I think it's clear that my directors and chiefs have to share all information with me -- understand that they have a job to do and sometimes it requires them to make decisions without first consulting me ...

... but decisions of this magnitude and this type of activity are certainly something that I think it's clear to everybody, and we all understand, that this is something that I should have been briefed on, and been made aware of before this decision.

We think it's clear that his directors and chiefs are not mind readers. They would have benefited from some previous indication of interest in Police Bureau promotions, or some direction as to how to handle domestic abuse allegations in the immediate wake of the Trosky revelations.

Luke is doing everything he can think of to avoid responsibility.

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