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City Council to Hear Proposed Police Oversight Charter Amendment

Published on Monday, May 13, 2024 | 5:30 am

The City Council will hear an information item on a proposal from the Police Oversight Commission and Independent Police Auditor for a Charter amendment to allow the Police Auditor to have input in sworn police officer personnel matters.

In December Independent Police Auditor Richard Rosenthal proposed an option for enhanced oversight in the City of Pasadena.

The new enhanced oversight allows the Auditor to make recommendations and actively weigh in during personnel investigations (instead of upon the completion of investigations).

Monday’s agenda does not indicate if the Auditor would be able to recommend officers be disciplined, nor does it say what kind of investigations the Auditor would be involved in.

The presentation was a specific recommendation based on Rosenthal’s time in Pasadena that he believed to be worthy of consideration by the Police Oversight Commission and the City Council.

Rosenthal suggested that the Police Oversight Commission consider the recommendation of changing the form of police oversight to allowing Rosenthal to have direct input during personnel matters of Police Department employees.

The recommendation was made after the City Council passed a motion requesting that the Independent Police Auditor and Police Oversight Commission look at “the issue of police oversight” with the “Independent Police Auditor to provide a report to Police Oversight Commission and then to the Public Safety Committee or the City Council to discuss whether or not there should be a strengthening of oversight.

“Independent Police Auditor Rosenthal’s report reviewed the differences between models of oversight where the Independent Police Auditor provides after-the-fact reviews, and, separately, where direct input is provided by the Independent Police Auditor during police personnel matters,” according to a staff report in Monday’s agenda.

If the Council were to submit a Charter amendment to Pasadena voters, the City would be required to meet and confer with labor unions “prior to arriving at a determination of policy or course of action” on matters affecting the “terms and conditions of employment” under the collective bargaining requirement under the Meyers-Milias-Brown Act (MMBA), which gives public sector employees the right to collective bargaining.

Since no action will be taken on the information item, the meet and confer would need to take place prior to a vote to place the item on the ballot by the City Council.

“We believe that a Charter amendment allowing the Independent Police Auditor with direct input in sworn police officer personnel matters would likely be subject to the MMBA’s collective bargaining requirements. Additionally, such process would need to be conducted in good faith, and concluded, with all affected labor unions, by the time the City Council votes to place a Charter Amendment on the ballot.”

Neither staff nor City Council have total control over the timing of the meet and confer session.

“So while staff and City Council would use best efforts, there is no guarantee of completing it within this time frame,” according to the staff report.

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