Waukesha Mayor, City Administrator say Police Chief's son ineligible for patrol officer job

NOW: Waukesha Mayor, City Administrator say Police Chief’s son ineligible for patrol officer job


A Waukesha city policy about hiring family members is being called in to question, after the police chief is told his son cannot be an officer.

CBS 58 obtained memos in which Mayor Shawn Reilly and City Administrator Kevin Lahner say city policy makes the chief's son ineligible to become an officer. However it's a policy that's not uniformly enforced and the common council could make an exception.

In June, the Waukesha Police and Fire Commission approved several police officer candidates, among them, Derek Jack, son of Police Chief Russell Jack.  However city policy states "No member of a family will directly supervise another family member."

On July 25 Mayor Reilly sent a letter to Chief Jack-- saying, ”I conclude that your son cannot be a City of Waukesha Police Officer while you are the Chief of Police."

The Mayor added that even though Chief Jack was not directly involved in the hiring, there is still a conflict, and the Chief is ultimately in charge of all officers.

“When we spoke last week about this issue, you indicated you would not be in a supervisory role over your son as a Police Officer,” the Mayor wrote in the letter to the Chief. “State Statutes are clear that you are always action in a supervisory role over every officer in the Department.”

“Patrol officer is not an easy position,” said Ald. Aaron Perry, who is also the common council president. “And when we get very, very qualified people to do that job, we need to make sure they're available to do that.”

Ald. Perry is proposing the council make an exception to the rule. The matter will go before the Human Resources Committee on August 16.

“I thought at this point it would be reasonable to make it as transparent as possible,” Ald. Perry said. “And have a referral for an additional exemption. Because this would not be the only case in which this is already happening in the city. And so why it's all of a sudden being enacted.”

In a July 26 memo to the mayor, Lahner wrote, "I learned that employment relationships existed in other departments where relatives as defined by this policy are employed as seasonal employees and/or part time employees."

Lahner then sent a memo to all department heads saying if they know of any situations violating the policy " you must immediately end the employment relationship."

Ald. Perry wants the council to decide on the issue. Then, review the family employment policy as a whole.

“The reason I didn’t make a referral to have the whole policy revisited at the same time as this is going on, is I wanted each issue to have its own fair time.,” Ald. Perry said. “So in this case, this is ongoing so we shouldn’t be discussing changes to the policy while we’re looking at making an additional exception.”

On August 16, the Human Resources Committee will hear from those involved, along with public comment. Then committee will then vote and make a recommendation to the full council. Ultimately, the full council has the final say and will likely vote on the matter in September.

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