Madison Alders: File Complaint Against Chief Koval with the Police and Fire Commission!
As Madison community members, we all value playing fair and by the rules. This is one of the reasons our City has become respected for being such a great place to live. When we respect each other, we can accomplish great things for our community. But when a City leader acts with disrespect, doesn't play fair, and breaks all the rules, it can tear our community apart. During his time as Chief of the Madison Police Department, Mike Koval has repeatedly violated the Madison Police Department Code of Conduct and other Madison Police Department rules, as well as City of Madison rules (policies and ordinances) that must be obeyed by all city employees. 1. He has repeatedly violated rules against bullying, disrespectful, threatening, or intimidating behavior. Madison policy for city employees absolutely prohibits “abusive, …, bullying, or other threatening or intimidating behavior”. The Madison Police Department Code of Conduct mandates that officers must on all occasions be “courteous and respectful”. 2. He has repeatedly violated rules against making false or misleading public statements. Two examples: In an apparent attempt to sway public opinion, he untruthfully claimed that at the City-County Building protest after the shooting of Tony Robinson, “Comments such as ‘kill the cops’ and ‘we have guns too’ were yelled frequently”. Full video of the protest (and all witness accounts) shows this statement to be blatantly false. Likewise, he has provided the public with false statistics on the rate of use of force by MPD officers. 3. He has violated rules against political involvement. Policy notes “police should not use their authority or the indicia of office, such as the uniform or title, for this purpose because of its inherently coercive nature.” 4. He has violated City of Madison and Madison Police Department rules against insubordination. 5. And he has violated Madison Police Department Code of Conduct rules that explicitly prohibit any public criticism of specific orders. Under state statute, in the chain of command, the Common Council stands above the police chief, and he must obey all their lawful orders. The Chief has set up a false dichotomy between concern for the well-being of police officers as human beings, and any criticism whatsoever of police conduct. He has encouraged an atmosphere in which people can justify the brutal treatment of a young black woman, Genele Laird, because to do otherwise is "anti-police". From the beginning, Chief Koval has demonstrated an inability to listen, displaying a "my way or the highway" approach to leadership. In one instance early on in his tenure as Chief, he screamed at a community member who politely asked a question, then cited “passion” as the culprit for his inappropriate behavior, but with no intention of addressing that culprit. This has been an ongoing pattern. His threatening and inflammatory blog post and behavior with the Common Council this past month was only the most recent such event. His blatant disrespect, erratic physical behavior and out of hand dismissals of the concerns of our elected officials, his table pounding, petulant pacing about, and outright bigoted mockery of the few non-white alders in the room reveals a man who believes his own departmental policy and Code of Conduct as well as the city rules governing the professional behavior of Madison Police Officers are beneath him. As former Chief Couper said at the press conference on Tuesday, “It is never, never appropriate for the Chief to be angry, sarcastic or bullying. Period.” He followed it up with the question “Does the chief's public emotional display on his blog and at the June 6 [it was actually the 7th] Council meeting send a bad signal to some of his officers? If the chief doesn’t have to be emotionally controlled and sensitive to others, maybe they don’t either?” In a multi-institutional and multi-constituency setting, a leader can only be good if he or she is a skilled and compassionate communicator--adept at presenting a position, listening to others, negotiating compromises and nurturing relationships that will facilitate those compromises. Chief Koval has a serious problem with anger and with disrespect for the political process. Like many people these days, he seems to view politics with disdain, as something beneath him. In fact, the political process is the mechanism with which democracy operates. Insofar as he shares his disgust with the political process with MPD officers--as he has--he is dangerous. He is widening the "Us vs. Them" gap when one of his first objectives as a chief should be to narrow it. We, the undersigned, respectfully request that members of the Common Council file a complaint with the Police and Fire Commission against Madison Police Chief Mike Koval and that the Common Council censure him for his actions. Regarding Chief Koval's actions and statements in his blog of June 5th and at the June 7th Common Council meeting, we are unable to file a complaint due to lack of "standing" before the Police and Fire Commission. However, you, as alders, were directly impacted by his actions. We ask that you, as our elected representatives and voice in local government, file a complaint as impacted individuals on behalf of our entire community. We expect our elected officials and the public to be treated with dignity and respect from department managers and leaders within our city. For our community to function, it is important that all be held accountable – that no-one is above the law.
Be transparent, fix your budget!
On Monday November 2nd and Wednesday, November 4th, the Personnel and Finance Committee heard input from the community and asked a few questions about the 78 budget amendments proposed by county board supervisors that passed committees. 10 new amendments were presented without public input. On Tuesday, November 12th, a proposal was made available to the public, choosing 38 amendments for “sub 1”. Two days later "sub 1" was presented to the Personnel and Finance Committee. There was no opportunity for public input on this new set of proposals. People appeared to register, but no registration slips were read or information provided to committee members. There was no information presented about why some items were in and others were out of the sub 1 amendment, there was zero discussion from the committee members and in 9 minutes, it was approved. It now goes to the county board, with no chance for public input on the new deal that was struck outside of the public process. We urge you to fix several issues in the process. 1. Fix problems with the Human Services RFP process. Two agencies, Genesis and the Tenant Resource Center are not being funded for much needed programs in our community. Tenants outside the City of Madison will have their services cut - which seems to be an unintended consequence of a flawed process. This makes no sense when where are in an affordable housing crisis in this county and renters have faced multiple law changes decimating their rights. Additionally, much needed corrections re-entry transition programs are not being funded, and without them it will lead to re-incarceration which is more expensive for our community. Both programs are not being funded due to a process that many admit was flawed. Please fix the process flaws now, fund these agencies to do this much needed work in the community. 2. Don’t take money from agencies at this late point in the process. Committee members discussed taking funds for the Briarpatch youth shelter to fund Genesis. Our community has long needed a youth shelter that finally opened in October, don't jeopardize this much needed service in our community to fund other needed services 3. Don’t take money from Salvation Army Motel Voucher program to piece together a family overflow program, fully fund family shelter. Salvation Army needs approximately $60,000 to make sure all children in Dane County have a safe place to sleep at night, so no one is turned away. Instead of fully funding this need, this proposal takes $40,000 used to put families in motels, often families who are sick or have special needs such as an autistic child, and then funds a group shelter these families will not be able to use. This is not acceptable. Fully fund the motel vouchers AND the family overflow shelter. You have options. You can fix this. 1. Use the Human Services Funding that gets returned every year to the general fund to fund these critical services in Dane County. At least $1M of the Human Services budget gets returned unspent every year. Last years it was $5M. Much of this money goes to fund law enforcement. Stop this trend. Put the money where it can prevent the need for the costly law enforcement services. This is money that is needed to serve the most vulnerable; to decrease racial disparities and increase equity in our community; to serve those who are slipping between the cracks. 2. Pass a vehicle registration fee. Use the funds from the vehicle registration fee to fund transportation projects and then use freed up levy funds to fund much needed Human Services. 3. Go to referendum for a levy increase. Many in Dane County are willing to pay a bit more to make sure these services, and many more like them, are adequately funded to meet the increasing needs in our community. Many members admitted the RFP process needs to be looked at. You know social service agencies have been suffering for years with no COLA increase while the population grows, the poverty rate increases and funding is stagnant. There is a long list of services that need to be funded and you have to ability to fix this. HHN-O-5 - County Ombudsman position. HHN-O-16b - Fund single women overflow so no single women get turned away. HHN-O-7 - Fund a Housing Development Specialist to help build affordable housing P&F O-8 - Tenant Resource Center housing counseling for renters. HHN - 14 - Genesis case management for Inmates transitioning to the community from jail. PW&T -O-4 - $15 living wage for Alliant Energy Center workers. and many more worthy and much needed programs in our community. Do the right thing. Fund Human Services at a level that is needed in our community. Allow public input on your budget when the real decisions are being made.
Reject CCB Guard Proposal
Public spaces belong to the public. We don't need a guard in our city-county building and we don't need to ticket people for tresspassing in public spaces because they don't have business in the building. If you are concerned about homeless people hanging out there during the day, find a day center that accommodates those needs. It would be a better use of our tax dollars. After three years of scrambling for a warming center, we are disappointed in our elected leadership and their ability to solve this problem, resulting in the worst plan for the winter yet. Pushing people out of public spaces, criminalizing homelessness and failing to provide for our most vulnerable are not Madison and Dane County values. We can do better!