ROCHESTER, N.Y (WROC) — The Police Accountability Board (PAB) will look to move forward on hiring investigators the Executive Director chooses after conflicts with City Counsel over who had the final say.
In a three-page letter from the City Council to the Police Accountability Board’s legal team, it explains a lot about the city hiring policies but buried at the bottom of the last page the Human Resources Department made an error referring to Council President Loretta Scott as the appointing authority to confirm PAB staff.
In the law which drew up the Police Accountability Board, Article 18 Section 6, States the Executive Director of PAB “shall be responsible for hiring and supervising staff in accordance with the City Charter and Municipal Code.” Meaning Conor Reynolds of PAB has the final say.
“We have to have the autonomy and authority to run our own operations and control and supervise our staff,” Reynolds said. “For the last year, the city hasn’t agreed and followed those rules but today they finally said they’re going to change their approach and treat us with the autonomy we deserve.”
In other sections of their letter, City Council President Loretta Scott pointed out the independence policies of PAB were to keep it separate for Rochester Police but overseen by City Council.
“We want no part of that” Council President Loretta Scott said. “We want to ensure that the administrative functions are handled in accordance with city policies.”
“That does not exempt him from the general oversight of City Counsel or from any of the processes in creating positions,” Deputy Corporation Counsel Patrick Beath said. “In determining whether those positions can be filled, and in undergoing the process to advertise for those positions.”
PAB Executive Director Reynolds said they have never had an issue following City HR procedures to show applicants are qualified. But we are at a standstill to fill 20 positions even as they are budgeted for 50 full-time employees.
“The city said we would not be able to hire those positions,” Reynolds said. “Instead, the City Council would be hiring those positions and supervising those staff. That is why we came out asking our attorneys to tell the city to do differently and the city said yes, they would be changing their approach in allowing us to hire our own staff.”
Deputy Corporation Counsel Patrick Beath explained a misunderstanding in the matter on those job openings could have been from a September 2nd email sent from PAB to City HR asking them to hold off on posting those 20 positions. But he did not know if there were other conversations since then.
City Council President Loretta Scott assured their body in the city government still supports the Police Accountability Board to do its job and wants this barrier to be out of the way so they can move forward to crack down on police brutality.