Post Tagged with: "public safety"

Stothert reviewing McDonnell’s plans

Stothert reviewing McDonnell’s plans

In case you missed it, (or are now thoroughly confused about what’s going on,) here’s the latest in the ongoing squabble between Mayor Jean Stothert and Fire Chief Mike McDonnell…

Wednesday, Stothert, just back from a trip to Chicago to discuss the city’s bond rating, said she hadn’t had time to review three proposals offered up by McDonnell over the weekend.

The mayor said McDonnell was looking to be reimbursed for tuition he paid for graduate school classes, among other additions to an original agreement. McDonnell, meanwhile, said he’s willing to go with a plan that’s more or less identical to the tentative agreement signed next week.

Stothert said it could be the end of the week before she’s ready to offer a final opinion on McDonnell’s three plans.

September 5, 2013 Comments Read More
McDonnell under investigation, deal breaks down

McDonnell under investigation, deal breaks down

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UPDATE, 9/4: Fire Chief Mike McDonnell tried to get several revisions to his deal with Mayor Jean Stothert last week, before it fell apart.

Tuesday, the Mayor’s Office released documents that it said contained McDonnell’s demands: reimburse his tuition, assure that rigs won’t be temporarily taken out of service and clarify something the mayor said.

UPDATE, 8/30:  The tentative retirement deal between Omaha Fire Chief Mike McDonnell and Mayor Jean Stothert is off — and Stothert’s office is now investigating McDonnell’s employment.

The Mayor’s Office just told us it was unable to come to an agreement with McDonnell on a final deal. In a statement, Stothert said McDonnell “demanded” language be inserted into the pair’s tentative agreement.

The preliminary deal had McDonnell stepping down and receiving the city’s largest-ever pension. Stothert, meanwhile, would be blocked from making significant cuts to the Fire Department over the next year.

“I am disappointed in Mr. McDonnell’s unwillingness to stay within the parameters of our Memo of Understanding,” Stothert said.

***

Fire Chief Mike McDonnell is officially out of a job.

The chief and Mayor Jean Stothert signed off on a tentative deal Monday that has McDonnell stepping down — he’ll be on paid leave for the time being — and the mayor agreeing to hold off on layoffs or pulling rigs from service.

McDonnell will have to turn in his city-issued phone and equipment by Tuesday morning. He’ll be replaced for now by Battalion Chief Bernard Kanger, who has been with the city since 1991.

Highlights of the deal:

August 26, 2013 Comments Read More
Civilian review board could be in city’s future

Civilian review board could be in city’s future

Mayor Jean Stothert says she will propose a form of civilian oversight for the Omaha Police Department. Possibly by the end of this summer.

Stothert told The World-Herald her administration is working to suggest an ordinance to create some sort of citizen review board, a concept she supported during her mayoral campaign.

That’s news to the city’s police union head.

“Don’t rush to implement something, which ultimately doesn’t work or backfires,” said Sgt. John Wells, the union president. “Because that just tends to cause more problems.”

Police oversight was a bit of a wedge issue during the mayoral election. Stothert and former Mayor Jim Suttle differed on whether to hire a police auditor or instate the community-based form of oversight supported by Stothert.

Stothert has said she believes people would have more trust in the Police Department if they were represented by a citizens board that could review police regulations or disputed incidents.

“Community policing isn’t just a matter of getting your officers out in the community, driving by once or twice a day in a cruiser,” she said. “True community policing is when the community takes part in developing the policy.”

August 21, 2013 Comments Read More
Budget hearing highlights: fire, sustainability

Budget hearing highlights: fire, sustainability

With two weeks to go before the council votes on Mayor Jean Stothert’s proposed budget, city officials and fire union leaders have revived discussions about the city’s fire contract.

Talk about the Fire Department’s budget took center stage at Tuesday evening’s public hearing, where President Steve LeClair said the layoffs and other cuts forced by the mayor’s $90.6 million budget should be a concern to Omahans. Fire Chief Mike McDonnell has recently told council members he thinks cuts could be avoiding by changing the contract.

Meanwhile, council members heard feedback Tuesday on separate proposed change: the end of the city’s office of sustainable development. 

August 14, 2013 Comments Read More
“Negotiate versus litigate.” — Fire Chief Mike McDonnell, on solving a budget standoff

“Negotiate versus litigate.” — Fire Chief Mike McDonnell, on solving a budget standoff

Read more here.

August 7, 2013 Comments Read More
Stothert: McDonnell can discuss budget

Stothert: McDonnell can discuss budget

Fire Chief Mike McDonnell may again talk to the media — or anyone else — about his department’s budget.

Five weeks after Mayor Jean Stothert directed McDonnell and other city department heads to get her approval before making any comments about the budget, the mayor has changed her mind. This week, she told the department leaders that they may discuss city finances.

The news, however, does not appear to have softened the tense relationship between the mayor and the fire chief. McDonnell said Wednesday night that he wouldn’t talk until Stothert put her new orders in writing. Stothert dismissed McDonnell’s request.

“McDonnell needs to act like a city department director and stop playing games,” she said. “No other director needs approval in writing.”

July 18, 2013 Comments Read More
“I am not raising property taxes just to fund the Fire Department. It’s not going to happen.” — Mayor Jean Stothert

“I am not raising property taxes just to fund the Fire Department. It’s not going to happen.” — Mayor Jean Stothert

Read more here.

July 15, 2013 Comments Read More
Crime lab merger talks to resume

Crime lab merger talks to resume

Talks about a shared crime lab will soon be on the agenda for City of Omaha and Douglas County officials.

The idea of an operation that would be used by both the Omaha Police Department the the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office has been tossed around for years. But now, with former Douglas County chief deputy Marty Bilek in a new role as Mayor Jean Stothert’s chief of staff, the discussions seem likelier to turn into action.

Douglas County Sheriff Tim Dunning told OWH reporter Cody Winchester that talks about the crime lab will start up again once budgets are set for next year. The City Council will begin that process in late July.

 

June 28, 2013 Comments Read More
Stothert to McDonnell: No budget talk

Stothert to McDonnell: No budget talk

UPDATE, 6/27: Fire Chief Mike McDonnell turned up at Mayor Jean Stothert’s office Wednesday afternoon, carrying a box full of records the mayor had requested.

Stothert had sent the Fire Department a four-page memo asking for information on the department’s hiring, staffing, operational practices and its interpretations of key labor union contract provisions. Several top city staff members, including Chief of Staff Marty Bilek, City Attorney Paul Kratz and a Baird Holm labor negotiator were waiting in the Mayor’s Office when McDonnell arrived.

McDonnell did not make any comments to reporters when he left the office about a half-hour later.

June 26, 2013 Comments Read More
Stothert plan calls for more officers

Stothert plan calls for more officers

Though her budget plans call for cuts across the city, Mayor Jean Stothert will push for the hiring of additional police officers and upgrades to the Omaha Police Department’s vehicles and equipment.

Stothert said Monday that she will delay a new recruit class that was scheduled to report in the fall and create one large class in 2014. And she says she’ll do it without expanding the budget, though the department is asking for more help. OPD has requested about $8 million more than it received this year.

The mayor’s plan calls for the department to get about $1 million less in 2014 than it did in 2013.

June 25, 2013 Comments Read More