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Topic: Remember Police Citizens Service Bureau & Williamson?
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El Supremo


Flint's year-old Citizens Service Bureau earns mixed reviews

John Foren | Flint Journal By John Foren | Flint Journal
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on March 08, 2008 at 1:00 PM, updated March 10, 2008 at 9:07 AM
Ryan Garza | The Flint JournalFlint police investigators David Dicks and Connie Johnson talk with residents after a weekly neighborhood crime watch meeting at the Northside police mini-station.

FLINT, MICHIGAN -- The mayor has credited its members them with helping to drive down crime in the city.

Yet they don't routinely answer 911 calls or investigate crimes.

Residents sing their praises, while critics question why a city with wth an admitted crime problem is spending a half-million dollars on a unit that focuses much of its attention on public relations.

A little more than a year since it was formed by Mayor Don Williamson, the head of the police department's Citizens Service Bureau says his unit has been forging strong bonds with the community.
At your service
Among the duties performed by the Flint police Citizens Service Bureau:

Working with block clubs and crime watches

Operating Crime Stoppers tip program and gun buybacks

Coordinating activity at city's six police mini-stations

Developing an e-mail alert system for city residents to inform people about crime trends and prevention tips The CSB can be reached by e-mail at csb@cityofflint.com.

Meet the CSB

Maj. John F. Keahey: A 21-year department veteran who oversees the Citizens Service Bureau

Inspector David Dicks: A 13-year veteran who organizes neighborhood block clubs and crime watches

Inspector Connie Johnson: A 19-year veteran who coordinates activities at city's six police mini-stations

Inspector Jermaine Reese: An 11-year veteran who works with Crime Stoppers and has organized a police e-mail alert system for residents
Source: Flint Police Department

"People are excited," said Major John F. Keahey, the mayor's handpicked man to oversee the bureau's inspectors.

But the unit has not been without controversy, including:

* Criminal misconduct charges and the subsequent resignation of an inspector who had sex with a woman at a police mini-station following a traffic stop.

* Another inspector who had his home searched by the FBI as part of a probe involving his father's security company.

* Reverse-discrimination lawsuits filed against the city by 46 officers who claim the mayor created the unit to quell criticism about the lack of women and minorities in leadership positions.

No eligibility tests were administered for the bureau positions, which went to four black and one female officers who were promoted unilaterally by Williamson from their patrol officer positions.

Keahey acknowledges the discord among other officers but said the department has a common goal to help the public.

"We're like a family. ... Sometimes family members don't get along," said Keahey.

During the past year, Keahey said the bureau has spent its time at meetings with block clubs and crime watches, has taken more than 400 guns off the streets with buybacks and has worked with volunteers at the city's six police mini-stations.

"I've got some hardworking inspectors," said Keahey.

A year into their duties, Flint police union head Keith Speer said he still doesn't know what the bureau members do or whether they are duplicating efforts done by others in the department.

"I'm in the dark," said Speer, adding that the inspectors and Keahey don't interact much with the rest of the department.

Quantifying how the bureau members have spent their time is difficult.

Unlike patrol officers, the inspectors don't fill out daily logs, and they answer directly to Keahey.

Longtime Flint resident Alvin Reid believes the mayor was right to single out certain officers for the new bureau, adding that inspectors such as like David Dicks have a rapport with people.

"You can't pass a test to do what he's doing. ... People relate to him," said Reid.

Reid is among those who attribute the city's crime declines to the bureau, and he dismisses criticism about the bureau's their high salaries.

"What they're doing, they're preventing crime," said Reid. "It's not about money ... it's about the community."

The bureau has been without one of its inspectors since September, when Ralph Tedford III was placed on paid leave while the department investigated allegations of misconduct. The city stopped paying him last month when criminal charges were filed against him.

Tedford pleaded guilty to a reduced charge last week and agreed to resign from the department.

So far, there have been no moves to replace him.

Flint City Councilman Jim Ananich called the bureau an outrageous waste that is little more than public relations workers with badges.

"I don't (know) { the purpose in having five people who aren't doing police work getting paid half a million dollars," said Ananich.

North side Northside resident Diane Blessingame said she never has seen an inspector one of the inspectors at her block club meetings, and she believes the inspectors would be utilized better for patrol work.

"I don't really see where they've done anything," she said.

But Milbourne Avenue resident David Starr would like to see the bureau continue its work.

Starr said a bureau inspector comes to block club meetings with crime statistics for the neighborhood, adding that on one occasion, an inspector chased down someone involved in a fight.

"Is it worth it in dollars? For us, it's been worth it," Starr said.
Post Tue Feb 07, 2017 2:36 pm 
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El Supremo

Flint city attorney: Citizens Service Bureau lawsuit was 'avoidable mess'

Kristin Longley | klongley1@mlive.com By Kristin Longley | klongley1@mlive.com

on July 08, 2011 at 11:53 AM

FLINT, Michigan The Flint city attorney today said the Citizens Service Bureau lawsuit was an "avoidable mess" left over from a previous city administration.

City Attorney Peter Bade also said the $3.8 million ruling against the city will likely grow "significantly" with interest, and could be about $5 million total.

Kristin Longley | The Flint JournalFlint City Attorney Peter Bade speaks at a news conference Friday morning at Flint City Hall about the $3.8 million ruling against the city in the Citizens Service Bureau lawsuit.
"This is a severe indictment of Don Williamson's handling of this matter," Bade said at a news conference this morning. "The panel squarely lays blame at Williamson's feet."

Bade's comments come the day after the 29-page decision of a three-member panel of arbitrators was released. The panel ruled that race was a factor in Williamson's promotion of four black men and one white woman to his Citizens Service Bureau in 2006.

The 48 plaintiffs, all current or former police officers, sued the city for discrimination after Williamson formed the unit.

Williamson on Thursday declined to comment on the case or the arbitrator's comments.

Bade said the city is reviewing its options for paying the award, including paying over time. The city is also reviewing whether it will appeal the judgment, he said, which would be very difficult because the parties agreed to binding arbitration.

"We're carefully reviewing that option," he said.

Bade said the award will not be put on the tax rolls, as was the case with the $8 million judgment against the city in the Genesee Towers case last year.

Individual awards to the officers ranged from $25,000 to $75,000.

Bade said the officers had asked for a total of $10 million in damages.

"The ultimate recovery will be less than half that," he said, adding that it was still higher than the city would have liked.
Post Tue Feb 07, 2017 2:39 pm 
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El Supremo

Set Weather
Attorney: City of Flint seeking $4.5 million from former Mayor Don Williamson in police Citizens Service Bureau case
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Kristin Longley | klongley1@mlive.com By Kristin Longley | klongley1@mlive.com

on October 21, 2011 at 7:52 AM, updated October 21, 2011 at 9:01 AM

FLINT, Michigan The city of Flint has a new demand for Don Williamson: Fork over $4.5 million.

In a rare move for a local government, the city is asking a judge to order its former mayor to personally pay the $4.5 million awarded to Flint police officers who sued the city over Williamsons controversial Citizens Service Bureau.

Were going to pursue collection from Don Williamson through all available means under the law, City Attorney Peter Bade said. We are now in the process of seeking to collect.

The demand is likely to lead to a drawn-out court fight between the city and its former leader, who resigned in February 2009 while facing a recall election.

The key issue will be whether Williamson can be held personally responsible for his actions while he was serving as mayor of Flint. The city has an ordinance that indemnifies, or holds harmless, its public officials for their actions while acting within the scope of (their) authority.

Williamson declined to comment on the matter, but his attorney, George Peck, said he filed a complaint Wednesday in Genesee County Circuit Court demanding the city indemnify the former mayor.

He also said the city early on had promised to indemnify the mayor in the CSB case.

The city has no basis to ask for a contribution from the mayor based on city ordinance, Peck said. It owes the mayor indemnity.

But the city disagrees, and is refusing to let Williamson go quietly into retirement.

Bade believes the arbitrators opened the door for the city to seek payment from Williamson when it ruled that race was a factor when Williamson promoted four black men and one white woman to a special police unit called the Citizens Service Bureau in 2006.

The unit was later disbanded, but not before 48 officers sued the city and Williamson in state and federal court. The case landed before three arbitrators, who ruled in favor of the officers and awarded them a total of $3.8 million a judgment which grew to $4.5 million with interest.

Bade said the citys position is that there is no duty to indemnify if the employee was not acting within the course and scope of their employment.

The city of Flint has a specific policy prohibiting discrimination, Bade said in an email. Williamson engaged in actions that were contrary to the explicit employment policies of the city. ... So there is no duty to indemnify.

The judgment in favor of the police officers was awarded jointly and severally, which means the winning party can collect the entire judgment from any and all of the losing parties in various amounts.

The police officers agreed on a payment plan with the city, and also granted the city their right to collect the arbitration award from Williamson, Bade said.

Attorney Glen Lenhoff, one of three lawyers who represented the police officers, said his first priority is to ensure his clients get paid. But, he said, he also believes his clients are deeply offended by Mr. Williamsons actions as men or women of the law.

It would be justice for Mr. Williamson to have to pay some of the judgments, Lenhoff said. We think that Mr. Williamson should have to pay.

The city has already made a first payment of $1 million, which was paid out of an insurance policy the city has for legal judgments. The payment plan states the officers will get another $1 million next year and the rest of the award in 2013, Lenhoff said.

Bade said it will be the citys responsibility to make those payments as it seeks to collect the amount from Williamson.

However, one legal expert said it will likely be a difficult case for the city to win.

Even if it turned out to be that the effect of his (Williamsons) actions was discriminatory, thats not the end of the story, said Gerald Fisher, a law professor at Cooley Law School and former municipal attorney. You would have to say the mayor went way out of his way to go outside the scope of his duties.

I dont know all the facts, but it would be a very tough case.
Post Tue Feb 07, 2017 2:43 pm 
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El Supremo

Consolidated Arbitration
US District Court Southern Division
Citizens Service Bureau
City of Flint & Don Williamson

A. David Porterfield 07-14507

B. James Hamilton & Draike Sparks 07-1401

C. Mike Angus et al 09-92472CL;09-92480 CL; 09-9291 CL; 09-92481 CL; 09-92407 CL

The arbitration arose out of alleged racial based discrimination and other forms of alleged discrimination and retaliation that occurred in the City of Flint in December 2006 with the creation of the Citizen's Service Bureau (CSB). There arethree categories of remaining plaintiffs, all police or former police.
Post Tue Feb 07, 2017 3:12 pm 
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El Supremo

(1) Lenhoff Plaintiffs 33 officers, 4 filed lawsuits in the US District Court 07-14507

(2) Yeotis Plaintiffs 1 filed in State Court and 12 filed in US District Court

(3) Gibbs 2 plainfiffs in US District Court.

The agreement to arbitration was made December 11, 2009 and 10 days of testimony was taken in Flint in January 2011

The Lenhoff plaintiffs filed state claims under the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act MCLA 7,2207 racial discrimination on Williamson only; claims against Williamson and the City of Flint Elliott-Larson 42-USC section 1983.

One Yeotis plaintiff in the State Court against Williamson only Elliott-Larson
The remining 12 filed in Federal Court under Elliott-Larson & 42 USC section 1983-the federal plaintiffs seeking punitive damages.
Post Tue Feb 07, 2017 3:27 pm 
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El Supremo

Gibbs plaintiff Hamilton asserts racial claim under 42 USC section 1981, 198, Elliot-Larson and Title VII; retaliation under 42-USC 1983, Elliott-Larson and ADEA.

Sparks claims retaliation under 42 USC 198, Elliott-Larson & Title VII.
Post Tue Feb 07, 2017 3:32 pm 
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El Supremo

Claims range from economic, non economic, emotional distress and punitive depending individual causes of action.


1. asserts liability based on allegation selection of CSB positions were at least in part race based.
2. The method of selection of persons to the CSB caused racial discrimination to occur
3. Race was a substantial causation factor in the selections to the CSB by
Williamson in December 2006.

1. All seek economic and emotional distress damages which are subject to proofs.
2. All except frank Sorenson, William meyer, Joseph lash and wayne Suttles seek punitive damages against Donadl Williamson.

If counsel prevails on liability Lenhoff is entitled to attorney fees Elliott-Larson and recovery of costs under MCLA 7.2202 and 42 USC 1988.
Recovery of costs if prevail
Post Tue Feb 07, 2017 3:45 pm 
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El Supremo

Yeotis plaintiffs
liability , damages , attorney fees are the same as Lenhoff. There is one exception-that of Michael Angus who is not entitled to punitive damages.

Gibbs plaintiffs
1. The transfers of Hamilton and Sparks were based in retalitory actions by defendants for engaging in 1st Amendment protected speech and union activities.
2. the retaliatory transfers wee based on plaintiffs opposition to unlawful discrimination
3. Hamilton was discriminated against based on age
4. Hamilton was discriminated unlawfully based on race in the CSB selections

Plaintiff Sparks claims economic, emotional distress and punitive damages. Hamilton claimed economic damages and punitive damagesbut not emotional distress.
Attorney fees and costs same as Lenhoff and Yeotis
Post Tue Feb 07, 2017 4:03 pm 
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El Supremo

Defendants answers
1. The CSB was an attempt to combat crime and selections were made properly and not race based
2. Only patrol officers with 10 years of experience or more were eligible
3. the transfers of Hamilton and Sparks were not race discrimination, age discrimination or retaliation
4. arbitration should find no cause of action against the City of flint and even if approved the maximum damages are no more than 4 positions.

There should be no attorney fees for the plaintiffs, only for the City of Flint.
Post Tue Feb 07, 2017 4:14 pm 
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El Supremo

Don Williamson answers
1. same as City of Flint
2. Race was not a motivating factor
3, No proof of adverse employment action
4. no prima fasie case for discrimination and cannot show pretext
5. Sparks and Hamilton did not have constitutionally protected speech -no nexis shown in their speech and their transfers
6. there is no basis for punitive damages

1. Economic damages should be limited to 4 persons
2. Those with rank above patrol officers are barred from recovery

Costs same as damages
Post Tue Feb 07, 2017 4:24 pm 
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El Supremo

Factual discussion

In late summer/early fall of 2006, concerns were raised regarding the lack of minority presence in the Command structure of the City of flint Police Department.
The NAACP. and the African American Police league (APPL) participated in several meetings with the City of Flint Police Command to address these issues.

On October 26, 2006 there was an informal mediation set up by the Department of Justice Community Relations Section at Christ Fellowship Church.Mayor Donald J. Williamson, Flint Police Chief Gary Hagler, NAACP Flint Branch President Francis Gilcreast, and the President of APPL Terry Neely were present.

As a result the Flint Police Sgt. promotional exam was changed to 50& written and 50% oral components which included questions including "cultural diversity, workplace violence and sexual harassment".

In the televised press conference held at the Flint NAACP offices, the President of APPL, Terry Neely stated he wanted more blacks in the Flint Police department Command structure.
Post Tue Feb 07, 2017 4:40 pm 
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El Supremo

On December 1, 2006, Mayor Williamson created the Citizens Service Bureau and personally selected the members of the CSB. There were no posting,no exams, and Police Chief Hagler was not consulted regarding the selection.
Diedre Pitts of personnel had provided the mayor with a list of Flint Police Officers including their rank and ethnic identity. The final selection included 4 black males and 1 white female.

Major John Keahey, Inspector David Dicks, Inspector Ralph Tedford, Inspector Jermaine Reese and Inspector Connie Johnson.

The job description gave eligibility as 10 years seniority or more as a police officer or 8 years seniority and a criminal justice degree.

All 3 police unions denounced publicly the creation of the unit and the selection process involved.
Post Tue Feb 07, 2017 4:50 pm 
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El Supremo

On December 18, 2006, The mayor ordered numerous transfers of police officers without the knowledge and consent of the Flint Police Chief Gary Hagler.
Hagler disapproved the transfers and was only able to get some rescinded.

Flint was experiencing financial difficulties and crime was a habitual problem. Mayor Williamson called for a "war on criminals in Flint".. In his State of the City Address, Williamson called for more police officers. His request was rejected by City Council. Williamson also created a 26 part plan to improve police services, but it was later rescinded. The CSB was suspended in the Spring of 2008.

Due to the numerous concerns about the racial composition of the Command staff of the Flint Police Department resulted in meetings at the Flint Police Department during August and September of 2006 . 1/5/11 TT 470 -471, memo of 9-12-2006 Lenhoff exhibit
Post Tue Feb 07, 2017 5:28 pm 
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El Supremo

As the race in the command structure became a sensitive issue, the Chief of police took down and covered the photo of the "lily white" command staff.
1/5/11 TT 474-561 memo of African Americans in the police rank.
1/5/11 TT 470-471 memo of 9-12-2006 Lenhoff exhibit

Diedre Pitts, Flint personnel Director, acknowledges discussion. Complaints were discussed in the meeting with representatives of the City and the NAACP.
1/13/11 TT 142-144

The informal mediation was set up by the Justice Community Relations Section on October 26, 2006. As a result of that meeting, a memorandum of understanding and mutual support was signed by Hagler, Williamson, Gilcreast, Neely. Lenhoff Exhibit 1

The change of the Sgt.'s exam, testimony of Neely at Press Conference, Williamson testimony he never heard of complaints from African Americans of not enough African Americans in the Command Structure & denied changes in exam an attempt to increase African Americans in the Command Staff.
TT 1/4/ 2011 244-248
Post Tue Feb 07, 2017 5:52 pm 
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El Supremo

The Arbitrators believed Williamson's statements lacked credibility and were false. (page 12)
Race was a substantial causative factor in the selection of the CSB.
1. job description dated October 30, 2006, 4 days after the October 26, 2006 meeting.
2. List of police officers with over 10 and 15 years seniority and designation by race
3. selection- no promotional exam or Chief of Polce input- never done before.
4. Pitts- believed race a factor
Pitts and Chief Hagler testified there cannot be racial discrimination in the selection
December 1, 2006 Press conference and Flint Journal article in which Williamson states 4 black men and 1 white woman.

December 4, 2006 Executive order showing Tipton as Inspector who declined

Selected 4 -Tipton turned down position and was replaced by Reese. Bender and Dumanois were offered the job, both were white and both declined. Reese accepted. Defendants offers to white officers said to show the jobs were not racially motivated.
Post Tue Feb 07, 2017 6:18 pm 
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