Wednesday, October 31, 2001

Chief can't campaign in uniform


Streicher says city manager should follow same rules

By Jane Prendergast and Robert Anglen
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Cincinnati Police Chief Tom Streicher promises to stop campaigning against Issue 5 while in uniform, but he complains he's being singled out.

Streicher
Streicher
        City Manager John Shirey also has discussed the civil-service reform issue clad in his “work clothes,” the chief said Tuesday.

        City policy prohibits employees from campaigning on political is sues while on duty or in uniform. Chief Streicher has appeared several times in uniform at rallies to protest the charter amendment that would change how the police and fire chiefs are hired and fired.

        Mr. Shirey ordered the chief not to wear his uniform while making campaign appearances.

        “I'm only following the lead of the city manager,” Chief Streicher said.

        The two men have sparred lately over several issues, including the chief's allegation that Mr. Shirey wanted to fire him during the April protests and riots.

        “This is the reason that you don't need Issue 5,” Chief Streicher said, referring to his ability to speak out without fear of being fired. “This is just a tool to get at the police.”

        Keith Fangman, president of the Fraternal Order of Police, said former Chief Mike Snowden wore his uniform while campaigning against a similar proposal in 1997. “So this is selective enforcement,” he said.

        Issue 5, which Mr. Shirey said was his idea, would remove 98 city employees, including the police and fire command staffs, from the civil-service system. That means outside chiefs could be hired and could be fired “for cause” by the city manager.

        Supporters call the measure long-overdue reform. Opponents say it would inject politics into public safety.

       



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