Draft audit of CPD overtime: 'Intentional actions to maximize compensation'

Published: Mar. 8, 2018 at 1:25 PM EST|Updated: Mar. 21, 2018 at 10:12 AM EDT
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Cincinnati Police Chief Eliot Isaac (Provided by Cincinnati Police)
Cincinnati Police Chief Eliot Isaac (Provided by Cincinnati Police)

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - A draft version of an audit of Cincinnati police overtime found "intentional actions to maximize compensation," bad oversight and confusion about policy.

The draft of the audit was released Wednesday after a copy of it was allegedly leaked to our media partners at the Cincinnati Enquirer on Tuesday.

City Manager Harry Black was so upset, he called for federal prosecutors to investigate what he described as a "rogue element" that is corrupt in the police department in an effort to undermine the police chief's authority.

It "reinforces my ongoing concern related to a rogue element within the Department that seeks to be disruptive and insubordinate relative to Issue 5 and the reality that you have an African American Police Chief and City Manager," Black wrote to Mayor John Cranley and other city leaders. "This rogue element is corrupt. It ultimately may require the intervention of outside law enforcement to ferret out."

He resisted releasing the draft audit to the public, but Cranley instructed him to be more transparent. The mayor said issues have to be dealt with now to make sure the city is operating appropriately.

The audit has been causing turmoil among some of the police department's highest ranking officials.

District 5 Captain Bridget Bardua filed a sexual discrimination complaint Monday.

It accuses two assistant chiefs and a fellow captain of singling her out in the audit because she's a woman and "also because I support an African American Chief of Cincinnati Police."

Cincinnati police leaders accused of sexual discrimination, attempt to oust chief

Bardua said in her complaint a fellow police captain, Jeff Butler, unexpectedly pulled into the driveway of her home at 10:15 p.m. to discuss an audit of District 5 overtime.

He told her he was upset about it, according to the complaint.

Butler told Bardua, according to the complaint, "'You know things are getting bad.' "Butler stated 'He (meaning the police chief) will not survive this. It's either you or him.' Captain Bardua took that to mean that either she or the Chief was getting terminated."

The audit revealed millions of dollars spent in overtime, with at least 15 bringing in tens of thousands of dollars in overtime each. The report also indicates an inordinate amount of overtime is centered in District 5

The top five:

  • $126,225: District 5 Neighborhood Liaison Sgt. Jason Voelkerding
  • $92,215 215 Sgt. Jason Scott, who also works in District 5
  • $86,245 Sgt. Ronald Hale
  • $82,723 Bardua
  • $68,699: Sgt. Timothy Lanter

According to the audit, the payments are part of a broader problem involving police department overtime, either because of misunderstandings about policy or intentional manipulation.

The result, the audit found, is excessive payments and compensatory time awards, which "enhance or maximize financial compensation for some personnel at the detriment of the department budget."

"These appear to be systemic management issues," the audit states. "The failure to adhere to the established processes has resulted in a significant negative financial impact and places extensive financial liability on the department."

The department's overtime policy requires supervisors to use other on-duty personnel or to adjust an employee's schedule before resorting to overtime.

"Avoid overtime whenever possible," the policy states. "All personnel will strive to reduce overtime hours worked."

Police overtime has long been a problem within the agency.

A report released in March 2016 found more than half of all overtime requests weren't approved or verified correctly between July 2014 and September 2015.

At that time, police leaders to overhaul the way it reports overtime to make improvements.

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