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Waukesha committee says police chief's son cannot be an officer

The Waukesha police chief’s son should not be allowed to be an officer- that’s the recommendation from a city committee.

Wednesday night, the Human Resources Committee voted unanimously to deny making an exception to the policy about hiring and supervising family members.

Derek Jack, the chief’s son, was one of the top candidates approved for hiring by the city’s Police and Fire Commission. He passed all the tests and met all the requirements. However towards the end of the hiring process, city officials ruled it would violate city policy.

“The chief supervises all officers,” said Mayor Shawn Reilly during Wednesday’s committee meeting. “To carve out a specific exception of the nepotism policy in this specific case as well as any other situation, is unwise and should not be allowed.”

Still, Common Council President Aaron Perry asked the HR committee to make an exception, in part because the policy is not always enforced. There are family members working together in other departments.

Committee members spoke before voting, many saying they believe Derek will be an exception officer, but it is not proper for him to work for his father.

“Why are we creating an issue?” asked Ald. Joe Pieper, who voted to deny the exception. “Why are we creating an opportunity for there to be problems or questions? If Derek needs to be disciplined, why are we putting a sergeant in the position of disciplining the chief’s son?”

The decision came after a plea from the Chief himself, who said his son wouldn’t even be up for any promotions until after the chief retires.

“I only have about one or two years left in my career and I’ll be retired,” Chief Jack said. “So we’re asking for an exception for one or two years. I’ve dedicated my heart and soul to this city and my son wants to dedicate his heart and soul to the same city his dad served.”

Al.d Perry says he hopes the family hiring policy is more clearly define and enforced in the future.

“I wanted it to pass, obviously it failed, so I’m disappointed,” Ald. Perry said after the vote. “And hopefully we can shore up this policy.”

The committee’s vote is just a recommendation. The full city council will take up the issue at the September 5 meeting.

After Wednesday’s decision, Chief Jack issued a statement saying, “I appreciate the good conversation tonight at the Human Resources Committee. We were able to present facts from not only a historical perspective of city practices but also the Police Departments hiring process. We continue to maintain the proper venue for this to be discussed is in front of the Common Council. I look forward to the September 5th Common Council meeting when all of the aldermen will discuss and vote on this additional exemption to the city policy B-10.”

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