Champaign Official Responds to Anonymous E-mail Alleging Police Favoritism
Champaign city manager Steve Carter says there are two sides to every issue, and he says it is only fair to hear the police department's reply to an anonymous e-mail alleging favoritism among its leaders.
But Carter said changes have been made, including some agreed to Monday by the city's Board of Fire and Police Commissioners
The e-mail alleges that reference material for a 2008 lieutenant's exam had been used twice before, giving an edge to veterans who had already taken it. The e-mail also contends Sgt. Tom Walker held an advantage since he is friends with Lt. Scott Swan, who helped develop the test, one that Walker scored highly on.
But Carter said that test didn't result in any promotions, and he said new safeguards are now in place when it comes to giving exams.
"We utilized an outside testing firm to do the work," Carter said. "Our human resources department oversaw the entire process. And outside of some general guidance in terms of 'here are the issues' - policies and procedures of the department, issues that are important to them - the department really wasn't actively involved in the development of any of the questions."
Carter said the Champaign Police Department has also changed the oral interview process, so that officers are no longer on interview panels. Another accusation concerns ratings within the department. Carter said the city has now included separate officer rankings from the police chief, deputy chief, and lieutenants, so the impact of any one person is limited in terms of promotions.
The e-mail was sent to city officials on Friday, the same day that Police Chief R.T. Finney announced he was retiring on Jan. 20, 2012. The note came from the e-mail address "firstname.lastname@example.org." Carter says he hasn't set a date for a response from the police department, but he said it's important to give the police department time to respond.
"Whether it's one employee or a group of employees, we're concerned about that, and want to respond appropriately," Carter said. "We want all of our employees to feel like they're being treated fairly inside the organization. That's not to say that it would be unusual to have a situation where there aren't some employees who are unhappy with decisions made by supervisors. I think that's kind of a normal part of business.