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Assistant Cincinnati Police Chief Forced Out Of The Department

Michael E. Keating

The second in command at the Cincinnati Police Department is now off the force.

Executive Assistant Police Chief David Bailey was told early Thursday to either resign or he would be fired.

City Manager Harry Black has issued no public statement about Bailey's status.  A city spokesman didn't respond to a text message from WVXU seeking comment.

But Black did send the following text message to council members Thursday evening:

At approximately 4:45 p.m. this evening the City received word Assistant Police Chief David Bailey has agreed to amicably part ways with the Cincinnati Police Department. I thank him for his many years of dedicated service to the citizens of Cincinnati and wish him nothing but the best in his future endeavors. It is expected that this will be consummated sometime tomorrow morning. Although the Law Department has and will continue to handle this matter, both the Chief and I are engaged with them. Assuming that all goes well in the morning, the Chief and I will confer on next steps with respect to filling the vacancy. In that this is an active personnel matter, the Administration has not provided any communications to the media. What you are seeing and hearing is originating from a source other then (sic) the Administration. Will keep you posted as necessary.

The Cincinnati Enquirer is reporting that its sources say Bailey will get "more than two years' pay and full pension and benefits."  That could add up to about $400,000.  At the end of that term, he will retire and collect additional money for accumulated vacation, sick and comp time.

His departure came a day after Black said there was a "small, fringe element in the city's police department committed to disrupting what's good about the agency.

Black's comments came after an Enquirer report Tuesday questioning overtime spending by the police department. 

Black said the internal department audit was improperly "leaked" to the newspaper, and shouldn't have been released because it wasn't complete.  He said the police chief was reviewing a draft document of the audit.

Black suggested Wednesday in an e-mail he was considering having the U.S. Attorney's office investigate.

Mayor John Cranley and at least three council members expressed concern about Bailey's dismissal.  Before Black's text message, many learned about it through media reports.

Cranley said in an e-mail to Black that "the public will need to be told how and why."

"Having enjoyed working with both Chief Isaac and Lt. Col. Bailey for many years, and having respect for both, and believing both have devoted their lives to the betterment of this city, I wish the two of them could work this out," Cranley wrote. "Crime is down right now and I believe both deserve credit. This is sad."

Council Member David Mann said he did not see Bailey's dismissal coming. He also said he had no specifics on the reported payout.

"If there is a payout of the magnitude that's been described, that is very concerning," Mann said. "I'm baffled that kind of financial commitment could be made without consultation with members of council. It's my understanding that has not taken place."

Council member Chris Seelbach said on Twitter that Bailey has served the city well.

"Disappointing to again see City Manager Harry Black dismiss someone with little respect for their service," Seelbach wrote in the tweet. "The Lt. Col. and our city deserves better."

Bailey had written the cover letter for that overtime audit and the audit itself was done by Capt. Jeffrey Butler.

It revealed several issues with how department personnel are using overtime and said those problems are impacting the department's budget.

"A clear pattern of the failure to inspect and manage the process has been revealed in a number of districts/sections/units or by individual officers and supervisors," the audit report said. "The failure to adhere to the established processes has resulted in a significant negative financial impact and places extensive financial liability on the department."

District Five Commander Bridget Bardua and two sergeants under her commend were mentioned as having been "top overtime earners by rank."

On Monday before the audit was reported in the newspaper, Bardua filed a sexual discrimination complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

In that complaint, she alleged Bailey, Butler and Assistant Chief Paul Neudigate were working to oust Police Chief Eliot Isaac.

Bailey in a Facebook post Thursday morning responded to the city manager's comments.

"In my view, these comments are reckless, unfortunate and grossly inaccurate," Bailey wrote. "They are not only self serving, they are irresponsible and harmful to the agency."

An attorney for Bailey and Butler Wednesday, in a statement shared on social media, said the men deny the allegation they were working to out Chief Isaac.

Jay Hanselman brings more than 10 years experience as a news anchor and reporter to 91.7 WVXU. He came to WVXU from WNKU, where he hosted the local broadcast of All Things Considered. Hanselman has been recognized for his reporting by the Kentucky AP Broadcasters Association, the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists, and the Ohio AP Broadcasters.