July 21, 2015
What: Release of New Civilian Oversight Candidates and Analysis of Selection Process
Who: The Coalition Against Police Crimes and Repression
Contact: John Chasnoff, firstname.lastname@example.org or 314-413-0454
COALITION SEES MANY STRONG COB APPLICANTS BUT FAILURES OF LEADERSHIP AMONG ALDERS
Through records received from the Board of Alders and the mayor’s office, the Coalition Against Police Crimes and Repression (CAPCR) has obtained the list of applicants for membership on the Civilian Oversight Board (COB) and the written recommendations from alders that were submitted according to the process outlined in the COB legislation. The list of candidates who had filed the required application with the mayor as of July 17 numbers forty-three. One other applicant filed the wrong application. Applications will be received through July 24, and by August 6 the mayor must nominate seven candidates corresponding with seven COB Districts created by the new ordinance. A list of applicants is here. The complete set of applications, with personal information redacted, is posted here (Click “Download” and “No Thanks, Continue to Download”).
Also posted are the formal recommendations made by the various alders. These recommendations were submitted, in accordance with the ordinance, to the mayor’s office in writing through the Clerk of the Board of Alders (BOA) on the July 6 deadline. Three candidates are recommended jointly by three of the alders from the 6th COB District. The 18th ward alder recommended one other candidate. It remains unclear whether other alders made verbal or written recommendations directly to the mayor. The mayor’s office indicated that some names were forwarded directly to them, but they are currently seeking to clarify if forwarding of names constituted a recommendation.
“It is disheartening to see that so few alders took the opportunity to formally endorse candidates,” said CAPCR Co-Chair Jamala Rogers. “We consider this a dereliction of duty. Alders had the opportunity to stand up for community members willing to serve in this important capacity, and they have for the most part stood on the sidelines. Either they are bypassing transparency and public accountability by engaging in vague or informal conversations with the mayor, or they are doing nothing.”
In the absence of broad input from the BOA, the mayor’s office has improvised a system. All applications that came directly to him were sent to the BOA and then returned to the mayor on the day of the deadline. The mayor’s office has stated that they are considering that whole package as coming from the BOA. The mayor had no legal need to engage in such complications; he is under no legal obligation to nominate only those coming from the alders. His office stated that he did so in an effort to foster open communication.
”Whatever the intent, we believe this process to be a charade that makes it appear that the alders are involved with COB selection when they are not,” stated John Chasnoff, CAPCR’s other Co-Chair. “We hope alders decide to engage with their constituents and stand up for a high-quality, diverse COB when the confirmation of nominees comes before them in September.”