Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly attributed a quote to the author of the report, Daniel Nelson, rather than to Halsey, who the report was quoting. A correction has been made.
INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — It’s been one week since the five-month investigation into excessive overtime within the Independence Police Department concluded and the summary was released.
FOX4 has obtained a copy of the full 57-page report. The new revelations paint a picture of a city that couldn’t get on the same page.
From the former chief of police to the city manager and even the former mayor, who said if there is any wrongdoing, he, [referring to City Manager Zach Walker] is ultimately responsible.
The report confirmed some of what we already knew: That the chief not only told the city manager that the fixes were needed, but they were approved by Walker. He had the authority to authorize up to $50,000 in expenditures without city council authorization.
Walker thought he had given police narrow permission merely to remodel the jail to fix “life safety” issues, the report said.
The report also said the city manager was unaware of the extent of the work and police labor would be used. The project was worked by a total of seven police officers according to the report. The total cost of the renovations was nearly $400,000.
According to the former chief of police, this wasn’t the first time that police officers did remodeling work. In fact, the cop who did 84% of the work had done somewhere between 40 to 50 projects for the department.
“Chief Halsey did not consider, nor did he appear concerned by, the project’s labor costs. He approved overtime at the time-and-a-half overtime rate for all of the police labor,” according to Special Counsel Dan Nelson’s findings.
It’s when this report broke, that rifts started to grow, the former police chief says of the city manager.
“Zach Walker lied when he said he did not know anything about this. That was an absolute lie. A lot of people have been through crap they did not deserve because Walker lied,” Halsey said.
Former Mayor Eileen Weir spoke with Special Counsel Dan Nelson about the situation.
“The buck stops here, and if there is some wrongdoing going on, he [Walker] is ultimately responsible.”
The report says Walker was overwhlemed by his job duties: “Walker supervised IPD when he first started as the city manager but somewhere he felt like he was drowning so he offloaded IPD supervision to the assistant city managers.”
Nelson also lays out that all relevant information that was needed in the investigation wasn’t provided.
“The Special Counsel was not in position to obtain and review cell phone records, GPS data, travel records, and text messages that could support or disprove overtime hours” the report said.
The former mayor [Weir] saying of the city manager: “His attitude is, ‘Don’t bring me a piece of paper to sign every time you want to buy a pencil.'”
Independence Mayor Rory Rowland shared the following statement with FOX4 Tuesday night.
“As I said last week, I am outraged at the overtime issue. We are awaiting recommendations from the City Manager in response to the findings that were presented just seven days ago. As the presentation from the special counsel found, these practices that were going on have been happening for decades. The City Manager is working closely with his executive team and myself to develop a comprehensive set of recommendations and actions to ensure this does not occur again.
The attorney’s notes were provided to a very limited group of people, and it has been illegally shared. It contains attorney client privileged information and confidential personnel files.
Today we are once again faced with those working for the status quo. Those who would rather expose our city to increased legal liability to move their own agenda forward – this will not stand. Putting your individual needs and wants before those of our residents – this will not stand.
Because of this action, we now have to prepare to pay further legal costs. As opposed to working on solutions and moving our city forward. This person has chosen to take a different approach.
When I ran for Mayor, I was fighting the status quo. I ran to focus on making our parks better, maintaining our roads, making our community safer, working on homelessness. But this person has chosen to work against that and now those resources will be used to defend this action. Your tax dollars.
This is not the city I know, nor it is the city I want us to be. When information is leaked, our employees can’t trust us to come forward to fix problems.”
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