Opinion: City Attorney Attempts to Block Police Commission

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City Attorney Barbara Parker

Oakland City Attorney Barbara Parker made a last-minute change to the City Council agenda before Tuesday’s Council meeting, altering the title of—and adding content to—a proposed resolution giving the Oakland Police Commission authority to hire and supervise its Inspector General.

The change to the title of the agenda item and addition of an alternate resolution was made by the City Attorney’s office late Thursday, April 25, after the regular Rules Committee meeting for the day was canceled due to lack of quorum, and without contacting the Rules Committee Chair.

After the change, the title of the item on the agenda reflected the City Attorney’s proposed legislation in the agenda package, a resolution that bolstered the City Administrator’s authority to control Inspector General position.

The changes seem to have been rushed Thursday evening to fit within the required 72-hour framework according to the date stamps on the document.

The City Attorney’s document package was posted to the City Clerk at 5:41 p.m. on Thursday. The City Attorney’s ‘independent’ legal opinion memo from Remcho, Johansen and Purcell is dated the same day, April 25.

Before the April 25 change, the title of Kaplan’s item read:

“Adopt a Resolution Directing The City Administrator To Proceed with The Job Description For The Position of Inspector General, As Approved By The Police Commission.”

But the version of the item title that appeared on the City Council agenda for April 30 was effectively for the opposite intent:

“Adopt A Resolution Requesting That The City Administrator Expedite The Process To Obtain Civil Service Board Approval Of And Post The Job Description For The Position Of Inspector General To Support The Police Commission And Bring A Report To The Council Regarding The Anticipated Time Frame”.

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