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Proviso Probe

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

PO-PO, Harder hearing part... whatever... [FP]

I was at the Dan Harder hearing last Thursday. What was said that constituted “news”? Not much in some respects.

Harder’s attorney Jeanine Stevens asked Chief James Ryan, “Is [Harder’s lie about his whereabouts] sufficient to terminate?” Ryan responded, “No.”

This exchange is significant because the rest of the case against Harder is flimsy.

Ryan said, “Most of the officers started fresh.” Ryan was speaking of the reputations of individual officers when he became police chief. Stevens asked, who didn’t start fresh, but didn’t give Ryan time to answer. Stevens was admonished by Charles Hervas, the attorney supervising the hearings, for being rude to Ryan at another time during the hearing.

Stevens asked Ryan about his statements that officer Mike Murphy was more credible than Sgt. Dan Harder because Murphy didn’t read ForestPark.com. This line of reasoning struck me as strange in two ways.

One, the idea ignorance leads to credibility bothers me. Why don’t we just put the most ignorant person we can find as commander-in-chief? I mean, if being ignorant makes one trustworthy, why not? Wait…

Two, how does Ryan know Murphy is ignorant? Murphy’s wife, Ryan’s assistant, told Ryan that he doesn’t know about what’s written about him on ForestPark.com. Hmmm… Count me as skeptical. If a wife knows about stuff being written publicly about her husband, wouldn’t she tell him? I mean the only reason to keep him in the dark would be if the guy had an anger management problem. Wait…

Stevens dug into Ryan about not reimbursing Harder for expenses. Harder submitted a request and Ryan turned it back as asked Harder to prove he hadn’t already been reimbursed.

This seemed particularly petty of Ryan. The finance department evaluates claims. I’m sure they have some mechanism to avoid paying the same claim twice. When Stevens pressed Ryan about the reimbursements Ryan said he’d pass it along to the finance department. Excuse me, Chief, but isn’t that what you should have done in the first place?

This is typical of the problems facing the Forest Park Police Department in firing Harder. The case against Harder is based on exceedingly weak charges. Every anecdote of Ryan jerking around Harder gives more weight to Harder’s explanation of events: the firing is retaliation for other stuff (the sexual harassment suit and police brutality complaints).

Stevens openly derided the Fire and Police Commission. She said they will vote to fire Harder like it was already a done deal. Is Stevens fighting for Harder to keep his job—not very practical at this point—or to score a big settlement in federal court?

1 Comments:

  • It's interesting that Chief Ryan would not see to it that Sergeant Harder was reimbursed for money he spent on the children's grant program. I think Sergeant Harder used his own money because Mayor Calderone and the Village of Forest Park were bankrupt at that time. That shows some appreciation from Chief Ryan eh? Here's a thought. If Chief Ryan thought Sergeant Harder was trying to get money from the Village of Forest Park that he was not entitled to, then where are those criminal charges? It seems that theft or attempt theft would be more appropriate then swearing and taking a sick day.

    By Blogger Fidget, at 10:59 PM, February 08, 2006  

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