February 8, 2008
Dear Commissioners and Mayor:
The local chapter (587) of the International Brotherhood of Police Officers met on February 6, 2008. One of the topics discussed was the proposed City Commission’s renewal of City Manager Mike West’s contract. Following the discussion, a vote was taken regarding this issue. The motion was made to advise the City Commission of the results of that vote. The I.B.P.O. Local 587 is not in favor of the City Commission renewing City Manager Mike West’s contract. It is not our intention to discredit or embarrass the City Manager. If you would like an attachment outlining some of the reasons for our decision, please request it by returning the enclosed envelope with the mailing address of your choice.
Chris Watson, President/IBPO local 587
Some of the reasons the IBPO does not want the City Commission to renew Mike West’s contract are listed in part as follows:
· The main concern of this Union is the men and women who serve the citizens of this City. We do not have the confidence that Mike West has provided the leadership this city needs; particularly with regard to infrastructural needs and employee pay and benefits.
· First and foremost are our concerns at the Dothan Police Department: Since the appointment of Chief Powell about 50 sworn officers and dozens of non-sworn personnel have left the police department. Someone for the Commission should be asking why. The department is fragmented; lacks management stability at all levels and many officers are more concerned with potential disciplinary actions as opposed to what dangers criminals pose or other daily challenges. This produces a natural and unintended reduction in productivity and efficiency.
· Personnel action at the PD has been at a historical high. The reasons have been released to the public by this administration have been things like, “cleaning house”, “busting up little cliques”, “get rid of the good ole’ boys”, “straightening out the mess left behind by the former chief”, and countless other insulting comments used to “spin” unreasonable turnover rates, terrible morale, double-standards and micro-management. This followed by genuine and legitimate fear of speaking out or criticizing ANY actions by department management whatsoever.
· The new 18 step “pay plan” provides a 2% increase per year with the only guarantee that employees will make it through step 10. The rest is dependent upon “exceptional” ratings, reserved for “team-players”. This means it is nothing more than an illusion of reality or a recruiting tool to give future applicants the false impression that positions top out higher than they actually do. Officers may work their entire career and never reach the maximum pay in any position city-wide.
· Mike West has been heard commenting to employees that have been with the City for 12 years or more, “I don’t have to worry about you—I’ve got you”. Referring to the employee’s longevity as being a reason not to try and keep them satisfied.
· Allowing the EEO officer to speak filthy and vulgar sexually explicit remarks about male officers of this police department in front of female employees and civilians alike and failing to enforce the “zero tolerance” harassment policy the City has after having been notified of the situation. This was following a complaint against this individual. This same EEO officer has subsequently subjected employees to harassing interrogations against their will on so called “witch hunts” to fulfill whatever personnel agenda he seems to have as well as outright threatening employees with their jobs. Employees are not required to talk to this employee, yet he is allowed unaccountable access throughout the ranks.
· Mr. West tried to change the Civil Service Act at the end of a legislative session (back door politics) to enable him with a perceived total control of the appeal process involving City departments and employees on personnel issues and other matters.
· Promoting cronyism, fear and threat of reprisal against anyone who “questions the establishment.” They fired a long-time city employee over a bucket of chicken; another was put in a broom closet for calling for an investigation; another is in trouble for crashing a garbage truck. West did not intervene on either, yet he can “total” a city vehicle without reprisal or even following the City-wide drug testing policy that applies to ALL city employees.
· Union membership was at an all time low at one point. This was primarily due to employees being afraid to maintain constitutionally protected membership for fear of losing their job or not ever getting promoted. Those numbers are on a steady rise once more. Employees fear this administration, particularly those that work in the Police Department. There is an unprecedented lack of trust in this administration.
Filed By The Meck - 02/22/2008 - 1:17a ct - Posted.
THE MECK REPORT
"The only things in the middle of the road are yellow lines and dead animals."
NOV. 27, 2007 - MIKE WEST MUST NOT BE RENEWED.