Top cop out but taxpayers keep paying in $400k settlement

Updated: Mar. 9, 2018 at 1:38 PM EST
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CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - A top Cincinnati police official left the department Friday, but taxpayers will keep paying him for more than two years.

The city's settlement agreement with ousted Executive Assistant Police Chief Dave Bailey shows he will receive full pay, pension and benefits in a deal that will cost taxpayers about $400,000.

City Manager Harry Black forced Bailey, the second highest-ranking police official, out of the department Thursday, according to the police union, in a move Mayor John Cranley calls "sad."

Bailey was ordered to leave or be fired, said Sgt. Dan Hils, police union president.

Bailey signed the agreement Thursday, and Black signed it Friday, making it official. Bailey will continue to collect $126,245.64 annually with a biannual $10,000 stipend.

Upon his July 5, 2020 retirement date with the Ohio Pension Fund, he'll be allowed to cash out his vacation, sick time and accumulated compensation time. In essence, city taxpayers will pay Bailey not to work until he retires.

So far, Black and Chief Eliott Isaac have not said why Bailey is out after 31 years with the department or produced documentation.

""Lieutenant Colonel Bailey has loyally served the City of Cincinnati with distinction for over 30 years," Black wrote City Council in a memo announcing Bailey's settlement. "The city thanks Lieutenant Colonel Bailey for his service."

This all comes a few days after Black called for federal prosecutors to investigate what he calls a "rogue element" corrupting the police department and undermining the police chief's authority.

Black claims some police employees don't want to work with him and Police Chief Eliot Isaac because they are black and accused them of "insubordination."

It's not clear who Black is talking about, but he and the chief have been upset over leaks of police documents to the media:

  • a draft audit of a police overtime audit the Enquirer obtained Tuesday that revealed problems, poor oversight and some employees intentionally maximizing compensation.
  • a memo FOX19 NOW obtained in January about an active internal investigation into whether two officers got paid for off-duty details they may not have entirely worked.

Mayor John Cranley opposed Black's decision. He said he wished Bailey and the chief "could work this out."

"As you informed me, the ongoing personnel action is originated by and recommended by Chief Isaac," Cranley wrote in an email to Black Thursday. "Whatever happens, I believe the public will need to be told how and why."

"Crime is down right now and I believe both deserve credit. This is sad," Cranley wrote at the end of his email.

Now that the settlement has been reached, however, no one may be able to talk. It states: "The parties agree not to disparage each other. If asked, the City shall state: 'Lt. Col. David Bailey has loyally served the city of Cincinnati with distinction for over 30 years. The city thanks Lt. Col. David Bailey for his service.'"

Hils and Cranley were working to try to change the city manager's mind.

Council Members also were caught off guard and some took to social media to express their displeasure.

"Colonel Bailey has done an excellent job as top brass for the department," Vice Mayor Chris Smitherman said.

"He has trained so many good officer over his 30-year career and given so much to the department. I trust him and his leadership. Crime numbers in Cincinnati have been dropping and morale has gone up.

"Colonel Bailey will be hired as a police chief somewhere in the country. This is very unfortunate that I would learn from the news about his employment status and only confirms to me that we must move Cincinnati to an Executive Mayor form of government. The leaders making these decisions must be directly accountable to the people of Cincinnati."

Before news of his resignation, Bailey called Black's comments "reckless, unfortunate and grossly inaccurate" in a letter to Hils.

The FOP leader posted the letter on Facebook Thursday morning.

Reached for comment, Bailey declined, saying the letter spoke for itself:

"Since we initially talked there are many accusations that have been made by the City Manager and Department commanders. In my view, these comments are reckless, unfortunate and grossly inaccurate. They are not only self serving, they are irresponsible and harmful to the agency. Rest assured I'm confident additional information will come to light that will invalidate these claims.

As you know I am in a legal position which prohibits me from speaking more specifically. I want you to know I have the utmost respect and appreciation for the men and women who work hard everyday to provide professional police services to our communities. I am equally proud of our community partners who make our city safe, and finally, I have been fortunate to have a career serving this agency. As those in power attempt to tarnish I will remain loyal to CPD, it's members and the FOP. Thanks for all your assistance in this matter."

Bailey was known as a cop's cop in his more than thirty years with Cincinnati police. He worked in all five police districts and nearly every other area of the agency, racking up dozens of awards and countless commendations in his personnel file over the years.

He became an assistant chief in 2013.

Most of the job reviews in his personnel file are glowing. He mostly exceeded standards or met them.

The latest job evaluation in his file is from 2014. It included negative comments from then-police chief Jeffrey Blackwell, who rated Bailey's leadership as "Needs Improvement."

"Assistant Chief Bailey has lapses with unprofessinalism and unsatisfactory command protocol and presence," Blackwell wrote. "Assistant Chief Bailey has been addressed on a couple of occasions regarding this as well as unprofessional body language and facial expressions. This behavior will be monitored closely for expected compliance."

It was not immediately clear Friday who would be the next assistant police chief or take on the executive police chief role. The remaining three, Michael John, Paul Neudigate and Teresa Theetge, were promoted in early 2016.

"While a process is executed to determine a permanent replacement, the Executive Assistant Police Chief duties will be split among Police Chief Isaac and the three other Assistant Police Chiefs, Lieutenant Colonel Michael John, Lieutenant Paul Neudigate and Lieutenant Colonel Terry Theetge," the settlement agreement reads.

The shakeup at Cincinnati police comes after the city manager's comments about a federal investigation in response to a Cincinnati Enquirer report about an internal audit allegedly leaked to them that found major issues with the department's overtime policies.

FOX19 NOW has been asking for the audit and received a copy Wednesday after the mayor instructed Black to be transparent.

Bailey oversaw and signed off on the audit, which was conducted by Captain Jeff Butler, who commands CPD's inspections section.

District 5's commander, Captain Bridget Bardua, filed a sexual discrimination complaint a day before the audit was leaked, alleging she was being singled out because she's a woman and a supporter of Isaac "

Her complaint named Bailey, Butler and Neudigate and claimed they were treating her unfairly.

Bardua also said Butler unexpectedly pulled into the driveway of her home at 10:15 p.m. Feb. 9 to discuss the audit.

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

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

A copy of the audit concluded overtime has bad oversight, confusion about the rules and "intentional actions of maximize compensation."

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, including Bardua, and two of her sergeants.

The top five:

  • $126,225: District 5 Neighborhood Liaison Sgt. Jason Volkerding
  • $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

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