DECEMBER 2, 1996

(Transcriber's Note: The following transcript may contain the word "Unidentified" to denote speakers not identified. The transcript may also contain incorrectly identified speakers when their identities were unclear.)

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MAYOR HAYES: .... to sit in here because he's -- I use Pat a lot, and Pat's got a level head, and we don't always agree but he brings a certain perspective to the job, so I try to include him on things that are really important to me that I don't make a mistake. We have here -- I'm in a situation, I'm in a no-win situation. Anything I do on this I'm going to catch flak. I talked to Mr. Pulice, and I'm not going to go into everything, but Mike wanted the opportunity to sit in, which he's afforded to; he can sit in on this. After the evidence locker room fiasco, and we get the report back and we look at it and we see some of the problems that occurred there.
I held him responsible for the evidence room, for the management of that room. I was not concerned about the monetary amount, the monies that were missing, concerning him. In other words, I didn't think he took the money, but there were certain things that I needed to find out in this whole fiasco, so I did. I talked to people in Anchorage about the report when I finally got it. I don't know of a 45-page report. I haven't seen a 45-page report. What I've got, you've got copies of it. It became apparent that I had to do something, because number one, I was disappointed that the place was left in the condition that it was. Mike and I have gone around on several of the issues on some things where his management style doesn't quite agree with me, and we talked about that. And he's done some good things, and there's some things that he's done that I don't totally support. Our communications have been a problem; tried to work on that.
I had asked Pat, and after watching this thing, just kind of meditating on it to figure out what should I do, knowing that it would be in my lap, but whatever I did, council would have to concur with it. I had approached Mike, number one, with the first option of probably stepping down on his own as the public safety director; not the fire side. No intentions of doing that, although people have certainly been telling me that's what I should do. But I had gone to him after looking at the situation after several things that I view that has passed in the last few months and over the year that I've actually taken over here and watched things. I wanted to come in and give things a little time.
I felt that it was in the best interest of the City that he step down as public safety director and go back to being a lieutenant. In my view, he wouldn't lose any money. Perhaps he'd probably make more money; make more money as being a lieutenant. In my view, I think a change was needed. I think with all that he's been through and with everything involving this whole thing with this lawsuit, that's something else I didn't really want -- you know, it comes at a bad time. They just took my deposition the other day, five hours, I've got to go back Friday. But I didn't want that to have any bearing on what I did, and at the same time I didn't want to hurt that, because that involves Pat and the City.
Talking to Eberhart today, he explained to me that that's a separate issue, so I don't really have to be concerned with that. I mean, the City's going to go on. I mean, they're going to go on to fight the lawsuit. Certainly the other side will make a play if we do decide to do this. So we're talking to Mike today, and Pat Cole was there. He felt like he had support on council that would probably not support such a drastic move; maybe a letter of reprimand or maybe a few weeks off or a certain amount of time being off work. I said I certainly didn't mind. I'd have to come to council anyway if he came in, and maybe just address you. He didn't say he had it for sure, but he felt that there were members of the council that probably would support some action, but not the action that I'm recommending. He felt that you may go along with a letter or something and not support me in asking him to step down. I said if the council did, that's fine, that's fine. But I think some reprimand needs to be done here.
And Mike's done a lot of good. I mean, it's not all bad. One of the things that I'm really -- and I told him today that I get accused all the time, minority hiring. Some of the areas in the City, their investment in drugs relate to people that I know and my people, and the only way to -- maybe I shouldn't say a whole lot about it. But the only way to get into that, you got to do certain things. I'm impressed what he's done in the department to work at that. But at the same time, I think that I need to do something as mayor, because it's all fallen on my anyway. Whatever I do, they're going to say it was too hard, it wasn't enough. So you know, I don't mind that. That's what the job calls for, so I'm not going to make everybody happy, but I want to be fair.
And I just can't simply do nothing. I will not just simply do nothing. Something's got to be done in terms of a management that controls, that I think that should have been in place. They are now; they are now. And you heard testimony tonight that they still aren't, but I think they are. There have been a few other incidents that have happened that, again, I sort of disagreed on, but I felt as a manager that he should have been on top of. And maybe I guess in his view I didn't give clear direction, and in the case where I thought I did.
But basically, I'm here tonight to lay it out to you and to even let Mike -- Pat Cole sit in on the whole thing, and I think he has some feelings about it because he supervised Mike before I did, and I felt that it was -- you know, I wanted to be fair. I said, well, Pat, you know, am I right, am I wrong, or something needs to be done, am I doing the job? So he's a kind of go guy. Even with all the MUS things that I've had to deal with, and I had to deal with a lot of them, and I've supported management in them, even when it was real hard to -- one I had to deal with the other day was tough. And Pat's recommendation meant a lot to me, so that's why he's here tonight.
So I think something should be done, and I'll abide by the council's wishes. I think that, from his performance, that if he were to go back to being a lieutenant, Mike seems to take the view that once you're chief or director, to step back -- I think he used to -- he used the word railroad, or the public wouldn't -- for cops, for police officers, chiefs just don't go back down to being lieutenants without hurting their career. So he feels like some reprimand should be in place. He said he'd be willing to take a couple weeks off or something and maybe a stiff letter. So that's where we are. That's where we are. And see if you have any questions at all about -- Mr. Cleworth?
MR. CLEWORTH: Just protocol first, Jim, before we get into any of this. But first, your recommendation is ....
MAYOR HAYES: My recommendation, ....
MR. CLEWORTH: .... asking him to step down?
MAYOR HAYES: .... to step down and go back to being a lieutenant.
MR. CLEWORTH: And you're asking us formally for our opinion at this time?
MAYOR HAYES: Yeah. You would have to concur. The way that I understand the new charter, you would have to agree, at least four of you would have to agree with me to do that. Mike has indicated that he felt some kind of reprimand was due, but he felt the council probably would not support such a severe reprimand. And I said that if you people said that you would do that, I would support that. There's really nothing else I could do anyway.
MR. CLEWORTH: I'm following you now. Herb, let's say we get in -- I mean, we're going to get into a personnel matter here now, because I guess the Mayor has opened it up. But I mean, let's say I say I don't like Mike Pulice any more, or something like this. I mean, do we have that right to say that here now? Are we -- I mean, if Mike wants to take us to court, ....
MR. PULICE: Well, wait ....
MR. CLEWORTH: .... or feels that he -- that the decision that we made, if we made a radical one, was inappropriate, does he not have that right to do it, and are we not overstepping our bounds?
MR. KUSS: Well, I want to say something carefully, because I'd rather talk to you as attorney/client if potentially we have an adverse relationship with Mike, which I hope we don't. It doesn't do me a whole lot of good to share a lot of legal information with you. But I can say that the way the new charter is set up -- and this is the first time we've ever really visited -- I mean, this whole thing is really a new thing. The council really shares sort of a joint power with the Mayor, but I read it very carefully today and I keep revisiting this thing for every word that's literally in there. And the initiation power is with the administration, the executive, which is the Mayor. And the code states that the decision to hire and to fire is with the Mayor. I mean, the Mayor must initiate that. It comes to the council, and the council ratifies that.
Now, the only thing that's not really clear, is that only limited to -- well, this is not hire, but if the council would say we're -- if the Mayor were to come into council and say, look, I'm proposing to terminate this individual, he -- that would not be complete unless the council ratified that. And that's exactly what the charter anticipates, is simply confirmation and ratification of that decision. But what's really not clear in the charter is, does that include anything less than termination, because the charter only speaks to hire and fire, and council involvement at that point. The question that's really not there is, if you do something less than termination, does the council really get into that, or is that now purely in the administrative hands of the Mayor, so that the Mayor can go to the council and say, look, here's what I'm going to do, I'd maybe like to get your input, but I know the decision is mine. But the charter isn't at all clear whether the council confirms something less, like if the Mayor proposed a month off or six months off or whatnot, whether on anything less than termination the council really ratifies it. The charter doesn't really say that. It only mentions hire and fire and nothing less.
And the only thing that kind of really scares me is because in the balance over here there's another charter section that goes back to the old days when we had a city manager, and the section really doesn't gel in here anymore, but it still exists, and that is the members of the council cannot interfere with the administrative decision, with respect to personnel, made by the Mayor. We still have that noninterference clause in there. And these two have to be read consistent and compatible with the new sections of what we're discussing now. And so, you know, the conservative approach is, if it's a termination issue, the council's involved in ratification, and ratification only. For instance, the council couldn't come forth and take the initiative and say, you know, we decided to terminate Mr. Pulice. That goes beyond ratification authority.
So the charter says, hire and fire subject to confirmation of the council. So the council's simply sitting back, the Mayor makes the decision, the council simply goes yes or no. And again, the only question is, if it says termination, does that mean it necessarily includes everything less than termination, like a suspension? The charter's not real clear on that.
So the cautious approach really will be for the council to only get itself involved in the ratification process, if the issue of termination weren't before the council. Now, that's not to say that the Mayor can't come to the council and invite comment and tell you his thoughts and get your feelings on it, but then the final decision, if it's less than termination, will have to be with -- you know, with the Mayor. That's the cautious approach.
MAYOR HAYES: Yeah, Jerry, I just didn't come and involve you in this to -- the ruling that I got was that you're involved, the council.
MR. CLEWORTH: Okay. Well, I just want to make sure that we're on solid legal ground, because I don't want to overstep where Mike's rights start, ....
MAYOR HAYES: I understand.
MR. CLEWORTH: .... and you know, ours stop. We're kind of in a peculiar area here. But do you want us to speak frankly tonight, Mike?
MR. CLEWORTH: Okay. That's all I need to hear. Could I ask a question first?
MAYOR HAYES: Yes, sir.
MR. CLEWORTH: Mike, if you were where we are, what would you recommend?
MR. PULICE: I told the Mayor I'd take two weeks off without pay and a severe letter of reprimand.
MR. CLEWORTH: Okay. Can I ask you two more questions?
MR. PULICE: You can ask (indiscernible - simultaneous speech).
MR. CLEWORTH: What is the lady's name that was the evidence technician? I'm sorry, I'm forgetting her name.
MR. PULICE: I'm sorry, who?
MAYOR HAYES: Anne Stepp.
MR. CLEWORTH: Anne Stepp.
MR. PULICE: Anne Stepp.
MR. CLEWORTH: Her husband still works at the department, doesn't he?
MR. PULICE: That's true.
MR. CLEWORTH: I don't know the internal politics of the department, but isn't that a very awkward situation?
MR. PULICE: No, he works for -- at two command levels below me. His daughter was going around their school and making rude statements about me, so I pulled him into the office last week with Lieutenant Keller, and we had a very cordial discussion about how I didn't hold anything against Frank. I knew -- at the point he got promoted by me, he moved up. I told him that there's no professional animosity between he and I, and he concurred we had a problem with his daughter making those statements in school, and he said he would go home and talk to his daughter. He had made statements in the detective division that there's defamation of his wife there, and he would sue whoever is responsible. I don't think there's any animosity between myself and Detective Stepp.
MAYOR HAYES: Okay. So Pat? I would just like Pat to make a comment, or the council can just go around and -- Mr. Immel?
MR. IMMEL: You know, I have 48 employees, and if I had to be like Mike, I told the person in my department that I'd have been gone. If I could retire, I would have been out of there. I couldn't stand it. I wouldn't put up with it. In my department, I don't have to put up with it. They're gone. I don't ask them to do anything bad, but I expect certain things, and I have policies and such. And I have some long-term dedicated employees, you know. I'm the longest one there now, but I have some -- and it's amazing. I wouldn't want to be in Mike's shoes. I wouldn't want it, ever. At my age, I could never get there no matter what, so it doesn't matter.
But I feel sad. I feel sad what's gone over there. I couldn't stand it. I feel sad what's gone on in the evidence room, that it was kind of an open book, and just kind of what's forgotten about, it seems like. I don't know. But -- and Mike, I just -- I'm at wit's end, you know. The last thing I want, you know, oh, you can fire. No, you don't take a veteran with your years of experience and do that. You never do it. That's like taking, you know -- well, I can't come up with any good examples, I'm sorry. But the toughest part of my job is hiring and firing. You hire someone and you think it's great. Somewhere down the road something happens and you got to fire them. And they got family, they got kids, they got everything. It's tough. And then each day you go to work you got to make sure that you're taking in enough money so they make money, and that's tough, too. So that, you know, they could bring home food.
But Mayor, all I'm going to say is I never thought I'd be in this predicament to have to do this, or to even do it. But I'm just going to go along with what you have to say and with your recommendations. I never thought I was going to do any recommendations because people kept asking me, and I said it's a personnel matter. Listen to the Mayor. We have a strong mayor form of government and he does it, period. I don't want to lose Mike, you know, until he wants to retire and go. But I'm going to go with your recommendation.
MAYOR HAYES: Okay. Bill?
MR. ALLEN: I guess the way I approach this, the issue of punishing Mike is secondary almost to how are we going to rebuild public confidence and trust (indiscernible). That to me is primary. If you can give me a plan that Mike takes two weeks off and gets a letter of reprimand, and we have trust and confidence back in the police force, you know, that's great. To me that's -- right now that's the primary issue. That's the issue. I mean, what happens to Mike -- we're talking about an institution that is very important to the City of Fairbanks, and Mike, like all managers, has done good and has done bad, whatever; employee problems and whatever. But to me the issue isn't punishing one person if that doesn't bring back the trust and confidence in the police force. That is the issue, and I don't have a (indiscernible). I don't know. But to me that's the issue.
MAYOR HAYES: Well, I think it's a combination of things. Well, it's for certain we can't get the money back because we don't know who took it. You know, I've got my suspicions. But we've put in safeguards hopefully that it won't happen again, and we've told the people that. I mean, there's only so much you can do. We changed the keys, we did a lot of things, forms and everything else so that it wouldn't happen again, but we can't guarantee that it'll never happen. It happens in banks, it happens all over. But I think we've satisfied that. I don't know what else you'd do to build the confidence back. It's going to take a while for the community to get to that point. That's why I was hoping the troopers would have at least charged somebody. At least we could say, well, it's (indiscernible), we charged somebody. Well, they didn't do that. Mr. Whitaker?
MR. WHITAKER: I think there's a lot we can do, Billie, to reinstill confidence, and I think we can start by making sure that all of the information that we have is put out, and I don't know that we've done that. In fact, I'm fairly confident we have not. I'm not an advocate of a kangaroo court, but I am an advocate of the truth. And based upon the truth, I think a clear logical decision could be made. My concern is that if all of the truth has not come out. I'd like to ask Mike some questions, if I can.
MAYOR HAYES: Sure, sure.
MR. WHITAKER: Mike, when you -- were you aware of a problem in the evidence locker before the Mayor was informed that there was a problem?
MR. WHITAKER: Were you investigating that at the time?
MR. WHITAKER: Approximately how long before?
MR. PULICE: We started looking at the problem on January 2nd.
MR. WHITAKER: When was the -- when were you made aware that there was a problem?
MAYOR HAYES: I forget now.
MR. WHITAKER: Mid February?
MAYOR HAYES: February or something like that when I called ....
MR. WHITAKER: (Indiscernible)
MAYOR HAYES: Then I called Pat Cole and ....
MR. WHITAKER: So six weeks? Is that correct?
MR. PULICE: I won't refute six weeks. I think it was somewhere around that time.
MR. WHITAKER: So four to six weeks ....
MR. WHITAKER: .... you were aware there was a problem and you were investigating it. Was Anne Stepp aware that she was under investigation?
MR. WHITAKER: Mr. Mayor, where did you receive the tip? Who tipped you off?
MAYOR HAYES: I received it from several individuals. But let me say this, my decision or whatever I do has nothing to do with the money aspect of it (indiscernible - background noise). All it has to do with is what's been laid out here (indiscernible).
MR. WHITAKER: But he was aware there was a problem, he was attempting to deal with it, you received a tip. Now, it's come to me that that tip came from Rice and DeSpain's attorney, vis a vis the State's attorney.
MAYOR HAYES: I've heard that. I have no way of proving that.
MR. WHITAKER: Mike, have you heard that? What ....
MR. PULICE: I was told directly by Lieutenant Keller that's what he'd heard, that Tom Wickwire called Cooper and Cooper called the Mayor.
MR. WHITAKER: Well, doesn't that seem damn strange that two guys are suing the City for a million bucks and their attorney calls the Mayor -- their attorney calls the State's attorney in Anchorage, who in turn calls the Mayor and says, we think we have a problem here. Did Lieutenant Keller also inform you that Anne Stepp had had two closed-door meetings in the evidence locker with either DeSpain or Rice?
MR. PULICE: With Lee DeSpain, yes.
MR. WHITAKER: On two occasions?
MR. WHITAKER: On Thursday and Friday before the Monday that the Mayor was informed that there was a problem?
MR. WHITAKER: Doesn't it smell like a conspiracy to you? These guys are obsessed with this. And I don't think Mike should get railroaded over this. He knew there was a problem, he was trying to deal with it, she was aware that she was under investigation. You may say that she didn't -- wasn't, but I've been told that she was aware of it. I spend a lot of time with the cops. I know them pretty well.
MR. PULICE: She became aware of it, Mr. Whitaker, but not when we first started.
MR. WHITAKER: All right. So she became aware of it. She called Rice and DeSpain then. Maybe they got their heads together and said, hey, this is where we get Pulice. Two or three years they've been trying to nail his ass. I think these are the kinds of facts that need to come out, or at least the kinds of possible facts that need to come out. I think it's wrong that we would railroad a man who has given 22 years of his life to the City. Yeah, he's made some mistakes. Welcome to the human race. We all have. I'm not prepared to go along ....
MAYOR HAYES: Okay. Well, wait a minute now. I'm not railroading anybody. I'm not making a recommendation that he be terminated. That's not my recommendation. When Mike started this investigation, I guess Pat Cole was in charge. Then he didn't tell Pat, he didn't tell me, he didn't tell anybody that they even had a problem. The thing that I hold Mr. Pulice responsible for, it's a shame that Lee and these guys brought this to whoever's attention. Well, when the troopers went in, they were adamant they were concerned. They noticed that the place had not been managed, hadn't been managed. That's what I'm looking at. Okay.
MR. WHITAKER: I agree with that.
MAYOR HAYES: Okay. Yeah, that's all I'm saying.
MR. WHITAKER: And that is a problem.
MR. WHITAKER: But the cloud and the public mistrust has come from the notion that, firstly, it was mismanaged, and secondly, there may have been some misdeeds done by Mr. Pulice. Nothing indicates that that was the case. In fact, he was exonerated.
MAYOR HAYES: Well, both of them were, really.
MR. WHITAKER: Really? Anne Stepp was exonerated?
MAYOR HAYES: Well, they didn't charge her. They didn't charge anybody.
MR. WHITAKER: You didn't read the same report (indiscernible - simultaneous speech) ....
MAYOR HAYES: Well, yeah.
MR. WHITAKER: .... the report that I did, Mr. Mayor.
MAYOR HAYES: Well, yeah, I read it and I know what you're saying, Jim. But I mean, just because it pointed to her and, you know, I questioned the same thing. That's why I was hoping they'd charge somebody. Well, when I talked to them they said there's not enough evidence here to charge anybody. And I'm not saying that Mr. Pulice - I've never said that - had anything to do with the money. Mine is strictly administrative. That's all it is.
MR. WHITAKER: I'm with you, and there were some administrative problems that he was trying to deal with.
MR. WHITAKER: And so at this point, how can we say, Mike, you were not dealing with the problems, when in fact he was dealing with the problems. And as he was trying to deal with the problems, it appears to me that his position has been compromised by two people who have been at odds with him and the City of Fairbanks for years. These are the sorts of facts that I think need to get out.
MR. WHITAKER: And then the public can understand why Mr. Pulice may get a slap on the wrist instead of fired, because I hear it, too; fire him, get rid of him. Well, what I'm saying is, if the public is aware of the facts, they'd probably look at it and say, gosh, there really are some questions here. There really is some gray area, and a slap on the wrist is enough. That's all I'm saying, Mr. Mayor. I think we need to get all the information out. I don't know the vehicle by which we do that. Herb, do we have the right to do something in public?
MR. KUSS: I don't know how you get that kind of information out. I ....
UNIDENTIFIED: Council (indiscernible) its own findings.
MR. KUSS: The information as fact -- I mean, from what I understand in talking to Paul Keller, I mean, Paul Keller has got this scenario down, and I mean, that's where the factual information came from. I think if we have that in deposition -- I mean, these question were asked and that was gone over and over and over with, you know, virtually everybody. So basically, it's a fact that's out there. It's not like it's a hidden or a secret fact. It depends on what kind of publication channel and communication channel you use to disseminate that to the public and who's going to be spearheading that information point to get it there. I don't know. I don't want my office involved in it primarily because we're involved in litigation and have -- the Bar Association will be hunting me down for the next four months if I begin trying to engage in pretrial publicity.
MR. WHITAKER: No, I don't think it's a function of pretrial publicity. Do we have the right, as the City Council, to have a hearing of sorts with regard to this issue?
MR. KUSS: Well, you can conduct a further investigation under the code if you decide you want to investigation certain aspects of what's been investigated. You certainly have the right to convene a hearing and use your subpoena authority to do that in an administrative manner. The code states that you can investigate the going ons in any department at any point in time in government. And at a hearing like that, I suppose if it's public and you conduct it in public, that information would naturally come to the forefront if that's the way it was led. You know, you structure that kind of a hearing in any manner you want.
MAYOR HAYES: I think what Jim is saying, my understanding, the second article in the paper where Fischer came out, I think he alluded to a lot of these facts. I don't know if he said ....
MR. KUSS: I think he said the names in there.
MAYOR HAYES: Yeah, I don't know if he said the names, but you could certainly ....
MR. KUSS: Well, and Lee -- and from what I understand, Lee Keene - you know, Dave Arlan - basically has gotten close on the radio, and has gotten the go-ahead that the next time either Lee DeSpain or Jim Rice call in, that he's allowed to mention him so that -- and to show the biases involved, so that if the issue is judged, it's judged with the biases weighed in, so to speak. But I don't listen every morning, so I don't know. That's just what Lee told me when he came -- stopped by my office to talk about something else the other day. And so he was talking about that, because one of the gentlemen keeps calling in and pounding Mike, and Lee says, you know, next time I'm just going to ask identification and over the air indicate the -- you know, the name of the individual. I guess he talked to Frank Long about that. But I mean, that's a different issue.
MR. WHITAKER: I guess my ....
MR. KUSS: But nobody's put the name to the -- you know, like Doug Fischer came close in his article. He described the situation, but the situation devoid of names isn't particularly meaningful, because once the names are out, then people remember, ah, there's a bias because these are the individuals that are suing the City. So it's definitely in their interest to get Mike removed. I mean, there's no doubt in my mind, looking at it from a lawsuit perspective now, because I expect that what's going to happen is, if Mike were removed, they would come back and say, hey, look, the whole thrust of our entire lawsuit is, get him out of there. I mean, that's what we've been after for two years now. We've been asking everybody to do it, nobody's done it. If Mike were to be out, I expect them to come back to the City, hey, what's the beef about? Basically, he's gone, we no longer have a fight with you, let's talk some kind of settlement here. That's what I expect them to do. I could be completely wrong. Maybe they just want to completely have their lawsuit and have their fun. I don't know. But I've got a room in there that makes a Techite motion work. I've never seen so many motions fly in my life, and a silly little employment lawsuit makes a Techite thing look like a walk in the park sometimes. I mean, Techite is more complicated, obviously, but -- and we have a lot of internal paperwork. But when it comes to motion work, I've never seen anything like this. I mean, I've got a whole room of nothing but volumes and volumes of deposition testimony, and you know, this case is going to trial in mid February, and I've basically got three-and-a-half attorneys working on this full time in between doing everything else. I mean, this is getting down to real crunch time now, and ....
MR. WHITAKER: This is the Rice and DeSpain suit?
MR. KUSS: Yeah.
MR. WHITAKER: Gee, wouldn't their suit look better if they could get rid of Pulice?
MR. KUSS: Well, I mean, that's a litigation perspective. That has nothing to do with what the -- you know, it is separate.
MR. WHITAKER: But I disagree with that. I disagree, because I think that they were involved in this situation and brought it, not only to the forefront, but exacerbated it and put a cloud over the department for their own benefit, for potential gain. I'm not going to expound on the soapbox any longer, but by the same token, I'll not be a party to the politics of expediency. I will stand for what is right, and I'm standing behind Mike Pulice. He's given 22 years of his life. I'm not going to let those two characters get their way on this. If you gentlemen want to be a part of it, that's fine.
MAYOR HAYES: Well, I mean, you know, that's why we're here. I mean, if you all feel like that, just tell me to give him a day off and I'll say, fine, the council said give him a day off, and I'm done with it. I don't have a problem with that.
MR. WHITAKER: But Jim, that doesn't answer Billie Ray's problem and his concern.
MAYOR HAYES: No. All right.
MR. WHITAKER: We have got to make the public aware of why we're taking the action we're taking.
MAYOR HAYES: Well, it ....
MR. WHITAKER: And I don't know how to do it other than in public forum. It is not KFAR's responsibility, it is not the News Miner's responsibility. It is this body's responsibility to make the public aware of as much information as we have, and we haven't done that. The public doesn't know that the tip came from Rice and DeSpain's attorney, and they should know that. And they should know that Rice and DeSpain are suing the City and have been for years.
MAYOR HAYES: Well, I think they know that. I don't think that's a big secret.
MR. CLEWORTH: Well, they've been ....
MAYOR HAYES: I'm not arguing with you, but I don't think that's a big secret. I think they know. Bob Wolting?
MR. WOLTING: Well, I certainly stand behind Mike. And I hired him and promoted him to chief with some turbulence times ahead of that particular promotion. We had gone through Mahler and some other problems. There were problems in the department, and the day to day constantly arose with various problems, mostly internal. Mike went in there, and to the best of my knowledge did a pretty good job of cleaning out a lot of the problem areas that were beds and nests within that department. Is that a fair statement?
MR. PULICE: I think so.
MR. WOLTING: And I also realize in order to do this he had to show one hell of a lot of strength and grab a lot of bulls' horns in order to get the job done. And to a degree, that's exactly what I expected that he would do, because that department had been run amuck for quite some time. A lot of it never surfaced, and this goes way back to a lot of the chiefs that were in there. Some of them were promoted from the ranks and became what I would call a weak chief of police, and that can go back many years. And that sort of followed a trend. And I know from the heat that I took publicly and everything else, because I was going to hire a man, another man, come highly recommended back east, and Mr. Mayor, you probably remember that. The press got a hold of it, raised hell with it. Finally had to call Herb. We had to call the man tell him, no, he wasn't hired. And one of his greatest qualities was, he was known as a hit cleanup man. He went into departments that had trouble, and rotten departments, and that was in a sense his specialty. He would come in and he cleaned out departments. And this community would not let that man in here, and that was a human cry out here across the City.
So then I turned internally, and there was Mike, and also Victor Gunn, who were a pair that convinced me that they could work together. And I'm confident they not only did the job, but they cleaned out a lot of the internal problems that were there, in both departments. And this came on the heels of, number one, we decided to get rid of a fire department, which became a very popular item, and made a director of public safety over both of them. I still think that was a good move. But the problems boiled, and I would say this, and Mike can correct me, most of the problems in my experience came via the fire department area. There was more unrest in that fire department and more complaints in that fire department than I ever heard out of the police department, although there were some out of there.
But fire has been a problem, and perhaps merging these two units into a public safety organization maybe kindled a fire -- fuel on a fire a little bit more. I don't know. I never really tried to analyze that. But everyone went on with their work. And if a couple weeks off and whatever, Mr. Mayor, I would support that. I would not support a termination. I can understand what a demotion would do, whether it be in the -- and the police are very similar to any military organization. And when the head goes down and goes back in the ranks, his career is absolutely done. There's nothing else he can do. And I certainly wouldn't lean toward that in any correction whatsoever.
So I'd go along with the couple weeks and how -- Mr. Whitaker, I wish -- I agree with you, but how you get this to the public without incurring more lawsuits, I'm certainly not an attorney, there's two of them over there, because you can become liable very rapidly. And I, like you, have heard a lot of things, and those same two men have been on my back since I was city manager and all the troubles over there, and there was only two good people and that was those two. John Shover had a problem with them. You know, we can reminisce here for a while, because the problem's been there. This isn't something that just surfaced.
The evidence room, I don't know, Mike, I guess it's always been a mess. I don't know that I was much ever down there or thank heaven (indiscernible - garbled speech). You know, so that particular phase of it, I just know it was a mess and unhealthy to work in and that type of thing. But as far as any stiffer thing than that, no, I think that would be sufficient.
MR. WOLTING: And I realize the decision is yours.
MAYOR HAYES: Oh, yeah, yeah. And you know, it's fine. I ....
MR. WOLTING: And we got a press sitting out here that wants to talk to each one of us tonight, and I think ....
MAYOR HAYES: I wanted to bring it to you. There was some concern if I had to or not, and I just felt like either way I go I'm going to get criticized. But that's fine, that doesn't bother me. I wanted Mike to have an ample opportunity to come before the body. And if you feel that that's being railroaded, well then we won't do it.
MR. WOLTING: I would like to ask Mike a question, just simply for my own information, perhaps the rest of the council. How do you and Deputy Chief Steinnerd, is that a good combination, and you ....
MR. PULICE: I don't think I have a problem with either one of my deputy chiefs. I have been conversing with them a lot concerning this incident. I believe that they haven't misled me in anything. I don't think that they want me to be a lieutenant, and I don't think that they think that's an appropriate action for me to become a lieutenant.
MR. WOLTING: No matter what happens, you will have to depend on these guys, and ....
MR. PULICE: I really (indiscernible - simultaneous speech).
MR. WOLTING: You have to have that confidence.
MR. PULICE: I don't -- really don't -- in my opinion, I really don't think my problem's in-house.
MAYOR HAYES: Okay, anyone else? Anything?
UNIDENTIFIED: I still think that it's just critical -- I think Mike agrees. I mean, you can't want to reside over a department that doesn't have any public trust. And I don't think demoting him by itself would gain that, and I don't think suspending him would do it by itself is going to gain that. We need to come up with an action plan of some sort, or come up with a plan of some sort, and the council needs to play a part of that, if that's necessary, to regain some trust and confidence in that institution. I don't think any punishment of Mike -- I don't think even firing him, and I'm not advocating that at all, would automatically instantly bring back that credit. If we have to open for the reporter, go over there and show -- go down and physically shown them the evidence room and say, these are our procedures and this is -- show them what happens when you check in a piece of evidence. I don't know, you know, what you can do to keep this going. But I mean, what do you think, Mike? I mean, don't -- give me your opinion on that. Do you have any ideas about how ....
MR. PULICE: The City hasn't taken a stance. And I speak to my commanders all the time. Ken and Warren Cummings and Paul Keller and I pretty much met at the heart of this. I've been -- I was not able to partake in the investigation or help in any of that, but we communicated about the problems downstairs. I'm sure that I speak for all four of us, that we don't think the City's taken a stance on this issue. It does no good for me to speak -- and the Mayor and I are in agreement, that it does no good for me to speak. But I have Paul Keller and Ken Steinnerd who are willing and more than able to go out there and present a City view about this. Now, I think I'd be present in that room. If the press asks me answers -- asks me questions, I'll answer those questions. I've got nothing to hide. I didn't steel that money. I may ....
UNIDENTIFIED: Okay. Well, I'm not saying ....
MR. PULICE: Well, I'm protecting(ph), I guess is a good way to put it. Okay? Did I allow a systemic problem to continue my (indiscernible) probably before it should -- or longer than it should have? Yeah, probably. Mr. Whitaker's right. When I discovered the problem, I pulled my two commanders downstairs and I said, this is a big problem, let's clean it up. And where I erred, and I apologized to the Mayor where I erred, I didn't tell them about it when we first discovered it. But it's hard to call one of your own a thief, and that's where we found ourselves.
MAYOR HAYES: Okay. Well, I think that part for -- I don't know what you guys are looking for, and what you're looking for is going to take you 20 years for this community, or maybe even longer. The press has been over there, they know what we've done. We gave them a whole list of everything that they put in place. They've got the list of that, of everything that we've done. They know that. They ran two stories, which I felt exonerated Mike in terms of being a thief. They hold him responsible for the manager side of it. So do I. No one's saying he's a thief. We didn't say he stole the money. It happened, he got on it, but it happened, so ....
(Tape change - Side B)
MAYOR HAYES: .... no one had to just ....
(Pause - Tape blank for approximately 10 seconds)
MR. PULICE: .... what I discussed with the Mayor today. I'd like to leave with 25 years of credible service. To get there I have to go to December 20th of 1997. That's a year away. I'm 18 days short of 21 years. If the early out goes through the City and the City buys into the program, I can leave on -- somewhere around December 21st of '97 with 25 years of credible service. And don't let me mislead you. I like my job. Even with all the stuff out there, I like my job.
MR. CLEWORTH: If the program goes into effect, would that be something that you would want to do? You mean, retire as of December 21st?
MR. PULICE: I don't think you'll see me beyond December 21st of 1997.
MR. CLEWORTH: Okay. When do we find ....
MR. PULICE: I might add, I don't think you'll see any commanders left in the building after that date.
MR. CLEWORTH: Okay. When do we find out about that program?
(Pause - Tape blank for approximately one minute)
MAYOR HAYES: .... he and I talked about.
MR. PULICE: .... now for the early out program for the City.
MR. CLEWORTH: I know, but are we close to having an answer for the City as a whole?
MAYOR HAYES: Oh, yeah, yeah.
MAYOR HAYES: But what I'm saying, I don't think he agrees with -- like this year. He's talking about next year.
MR. PULICE: It's ninety- ....
MR. CLEWORTH: No, I understand that, it's next year, roughly a year away.
MR. PULICE: Twelve months and eighteen days.
MR. CLEWORTH: I mean, what I -- I don't see that we need to run out to the press and say, okay, here's our findings, this is what we're going to do. I mean, I would like to wait, and if that indeed is your intention to find out if we're a part of that program or not, and say, one, we have a public safety director that wants to retire here very soon, and it's going to take him that -- it's going to take us that period of time to find a replacement anyway. I mean, it would give us time and also give him what he desires anyway. I mean, I think we can -- everyone can be a winner if that turns out to be the case.
MAYOR HAYES: Well, I think you can -- we discussed that, because that was one of the options that I brought up to him. I think Barbara can work the numbers where he can do that, if you want him to retire next year.
MR. CLEWORTH: Well, I mean, I want -- if that's what he wants, too. I mean, ....
MR. PULICE: Jerry, I can't -- I don't know.
MR. PULICE: My goal was to get to 25. That would put me at 25.
MR. CLEWORTH: Okay. Well, I think what we need to do, going back to what Jim was talking about and Whitaker here, I would like to issue -- I think the council needs to issue some kind of a statement on the facts and our findings, I would say. And before I would be willing to do that, I'd like to talk to Mr. Steinnerd, Mr. Cummings, and Paul Keller, and if indeed -- I've heard the same stores Mr. Whitaker has. I think in the findings we need to state that we have received a report, this is what it says, this is how we interpret it. I think we need to state that; if we find that management has been faulty, what we're going to do there, if it's a reprimand, leave without pay, or whatever, the source of the information, and how this catches us in a bit of a awkward spot as far as a legal case going and where it came from. I think they need to know that.
So the public can go, okay, we follow the reasoning of what the council's saying here, rather than just go, okay, Jim, do what you want and then it's all on your shoulders and you can -- and then -- so I guess I'm not willing to make a decision tonight. I'd like to talk to the three people, and I'd like to find out what's happening with that RIP program. Because if he's wanting to retire in a year, I think it's rather fruitless on us to go and say, you're out of here, or you're being demoted to lieutenant, which I really don't want you to do either. And saying that we need some time to make some changes here. It's going to happen in a year anyway. And when people see that there's some end -- you know, some finite period here, then I think that most of the problem will go away.
MR. PULICE: You're going to have a massive change in management in the building a year from now.
MR. CLEWORTH: Yeah. And you'll be a part of that. So yeah, it'll be a -- yeah. And I think we need that time to make sure that we have people to take the place, if we have anybody to take the place. So I guess I'm -- I would like to talk to those three individuals personally. Do we have the right to do that?
MAYOR HAYES: Sure, you can talk to them. And you know, I concur. I've heard that same story, that that's how they got it. They've told me that. That's not a problem. That's not a dispute with me. I agree.
MR. PULICE: But just so that -- I didn't know what was going to transpire tonight, quite frankly. I had both of those people lined up to come in here and say things on my behalf, is a good way to put it, but I sent them away about 5:00 this afternoon when I realized I didn't know what was going to happen. Chief Steinnerd's going to Anchorage on my part for the next few days for the Alaska police standard council meeting. The chief -- Keller's available at your convenience. They both want to speak to you folks.
MR. CLEWORTH: And I'd like to hear them.
MR. CLEWORTH: And rather than take action tonight, I guess I'd rather have another executive session.
MAYOR HAYES: Mr. Whitaker?
MR. WHITAKER: Jerry, I agree with what you're saying. My only concern about that is that -- and I would ask a question. Is there any reason why we would want to do it in executive session and not as a forum that we are entitled to conduct? And Herb, I would ask you, do we have -- are there legal reasons why we may not want to do that?
MR. KUSS: Primarily - and this is the same reason that you're in executive session tonight - primarily because you probably will tend to invoke the names of people and discuss people, characters here, Anne Stepp's a good example, where you may want to speak freely, but in doing so, if you were to do that out in public and publish that, it could be construed as being defamatory, potentially malicious. I'm just telling you it could be construed that way. And that's the reason that you go into executive session so as not to expose yourself to that. Unless the person you're talking about consents to bring it open, then there's no case for defamation because they consent to the publication. It's not a problem. But that's why you have the exception to the open meetings act, to allow you to convene in executive session so that you can avoid the potential liability that goes along with defamatory statements that can simply be thrown out, and just when you think you're adequately describing something, somebody else sees it in a defamatory fashion, everybody in public land hears it, KIAK is on the radio. At that point you might have a problem.
I mean, that's one of the issues in that lawsuit. We have a count for defamation in there with respect to the publication of the Fact Finding Commission report, that that went on KFAR radio where that had to do with the alleged complaint about -- that Mike got from a, quote, citizen, as to some involvement by Lee DeSpain with somebody that just landed on his desk that became involved in the Fact Finding Commission. You know, this is one of the things that was considered. Well, that got sort of tossed into the commission report, and then it was let out into the public. We don't think it's defamatory, but yet they have included a count for defamation by the City for releasing that information. So you know, all I'm saying is that's why -- the reason you go into executive session is to protect yourself against publication of potentially defamatory material, ....
UNIDENTIFIED: (Indiscernible - simultaneous speech)
UNIDENTIFIED: And the truth could be construed as being defamatory.
MR. KUSS: But the problem is, truth is a defense, but you will still face a trial, and given the opportunity to prove that it's truth, and you don't want to get to that point. That's why you want to protect yourself. I mean, if you're absolutely convinced truth is a defense, you know, that's not a problem. But a lot of people will say, hey, I don't believe it's true, and I think it was done maliciously, and my character is defamed. And then if they've got enough money and they have enough principal involved, like that's exactly what we're facing with these characters, I mean, you're in a real dog fight. And all I'm saying is, that's the interest that you're trying to protect, you know. And when you get into executive sessions, you never really know -- you can see the dialog sometimes. You never really know what comes up in terms of, you know, sometimes the bunny trails and the characters involved, and how conduct and reputations and personality traits are described.
MR. WHITAKER: But aren't we in a dog fight anyway?
MR. KUSS: We're in a dog fight, I just don't want to throw another piece of meat for those guys in their direction. There's a way to discuss this if you want to really get at information, and this is not a bad forum to do it. If you want to get into an investigative phase where you want to develop something a little further, you can hold that in public and you're allowed to ask information and seek the truth in a public forum, if that's how you want to use your investigative powers. Most people hold their investigation behind closed doors also, primarily because of this type of exchange.
MAYOR HAYES: If I can, I want Pat Cole to say something. And this is what I will say, and it's not a real problem for me. The council -- and I'm glad you've taken the position you've taken, because, you know, it just makes it a lot easier. Mike and I just need to talk about better communication and trying to improve the thing. He has said that he would try to do that. I will say I came to you with a recommendation, you didn't support it, and that's it. And then the council can investigate, talk to all these people about who called who and all that. I don't care to get into all that. I think all that would do is just opens it up, it keeps it breathing, it keeps it going. And if you decide the two weeks is off, I'll abide by that, and when you tell me that it's time for him to do that. They're taking my deposition again Friday. I went for five hours the other day. I know that they're going to ask me. I assume they will.
MR. PULICE: They'll grill you.
MAYOR HAYES: Yeah. So I'm going to say I had a recommendation. Unless Eberhart tells me I got to tell them, I don't intend to tell them what it was. I will say that the council didn't concur with it, and we're done. I think that's really the better way to handle it than to drag up a lot of -- but you can do that yourself as council members. I don't care to be in that, because you have everybody come and fill in the chambers, you'll have one side saying do this, you have the other side -- so you still don't build the credibility. I think the way you get the credibility is by saying, we took measures, we put these things in place.
And the other thing that I mentioned to Mike about, I was thinking about having someone come in, a retired police officer come in, go through our evidence, check it out, make sure that the checks and balances are there. And if there's any problems, have him make a recommendation to us as to how to fix it, because most people are going to say that if we review it ourselves, it's an in-house deal, and then you're going to come under that kind of scrutiny. So I've thought about someone coming from Anchorage, or maybe even North Pole, but then even people are going to say, well, they're all cops. That's why we use the troopers. I mean, you've got to trust somebody. But have them come in and give the department a good clean bill of health. Say, hey, what these guys did fixes the problem, instead of ....
MR. PULICE: (Indiscernible) the new system.
MAYOR HAYES: Right. Instead of dragging Mike through the mud as to what Lee and all these guys said. I would prefer to do it that way. Pat, you got anything you want to say?
MR. COLE: Well, in light of what's been said so far, all I would add is that I've known Mike for ten years. I know he's honest as far as money's concerned. I've never had any doubt that he was innocent of taking money. He's been through the battles, as Bob mentioned. I've been through a lot of those battles with him. I was -- spent many hours with Mike fighting over the years. You should know also that when I was manager, Mike and I came to have differences, and some of these are not related to what Lee and Jim Rice say. That's not a factor at all. It's going to happen. You're going to have differences. And some of the problems the mayor has alluded to are problems that I had, too. And I would hope that the Mayor and Mike can move away from those problems so we're not ever here again.
I don't -- I agree with the concerns raised that we're playing into the hands of people who are out for their own reasons. But I worry that we're overlooking some day to day things that could cause us future problems, and I hope that we can focus on the day to day and not (indiscernible) things. So I think the Mayor came to you because there has been problems and I don't think they're solved.
MAYOR HAYES: But at the same time, I pledge, and I think Mike pledged to me, that our differences, that we'd work real hard to work them out, and I think he's sincere about that.
MR. PULICE: I'm going to do whatever it takes to (indiscernible - simultaneous speech).
MAYOR HAYES: Okay. So that part doesn't really bother me. I think more to what Billie Ray is saying, to give credibility to the department, and we in here can't do that. That's got to be an outsider. Even Steinnerd can't do that, because he's too close to Mike. They'll say, well, they're all in it together. You heard that testimony tonight about Keller. They're all in it together. They're all mentioned in that report together. My view is, and you don't have to accept my view, is that you get somebody to come from outside and check the place over, and let us know, and let the public. They're more credible than our police officers. I'd say we've gone through it, we challenged it. What you people have done here - Keller, Steinnerd, Pulice and Hayes and council - you've done a good job, you've cleaned the problem up, because you're going to get the money back. You're always going to go through, did Anne do it, did Mike do it. You can talk to all the press in the world. That's never going to go away. People are going to have their opinions.
And soon it'll die down, especially if you get an outsider to come in here and look at it. And they say, well, geez, these guys cleaned it up, the outsider said it's good, Mike took a couple of weeks off; I'm not happy with that, they probably should have fired him, he'd have done this. You're going to get that anyway. But at least they cleaned up, and you know, they cleaned it up. I'm more important -- I'm more concerned about that than anything else, because if I wanted to fire him, I'd have just come right out and said, hey, he ought to be fired. That was never my intent to fire him, never my intent at all. He knows that. He knows I wouldn't fire him. Yeah, he and my wife worked together years ago. And I like Mike.
But you know, as someone here that's on the hot seat, and I don't mind telling you, I take a stand. I mean, when things go wrong, you hold people accountable for it, and that's the only thing that we were asking of him; not to fire him, but to do something, and he felt he had council's support, and he does, not to be a little too hard. I accept that. So I think it's -- with me, it's a done issue, as far as I'm concerned, and that's the way I'll leave it.
UNIDENTIFIED: (Indiscernible - away from microphone)
MAYOR HAYES: Well, I mean, Mr. Cleworth?
MR. CLEWORTH: What I'm under- -- my understanding is we're not done here. I mean, I want to hear more -- if you want a decision from me tonight, I'm not prepared to make one.
MAYOR HAYES: No, no, I don't ....
MR. CLEWORTH: And you can -- I mean, if you told the press what you said, that you made a recommendation, council has not acted upon that, they want more time and they want to talk to more people, ....
MR. CLEWORTH: .... I think that's a little more accurate of what's happening.
MAYOR HAYES: All right. Either way, either way.
MR. CLEWORTH: And if you desire action tonight, I'm not prepared to do it.
MR. CLEWORTH: I want to talk to these three individuals and ....
MR. PULICE: About those three individuals. Steinnerd's gone for two days, and Keller leaves on Saturday for a week.
MR. CLEWORTH: Well, ....
MR. PULICE: Keller can give you folks ....
MR. CLEWORTH: And I want to find out what's happening ....
MR. PULICE: .... (indiscernible - simultaneous speech).
MR. CLEWORTH: .... with the RIP program, too.
MAYOR HAYES: Sure, sure.
MR. CLEWORTH: And then ....
MAYOR HAYES: But that's ....
MR. CLEWORTH: .... I'm willing to make a recommendation.
MAYOR HAYES: Okay. That's my position. I'm sure ....
MR. CLEWORTH: I think that's what you can tell the press, ....
MR. CLEWORTH: .... that we met until 1-whatever in the morning and we're still not done.
MAYOR HAYES: I'll tell them in deposition, because they're going to ask me that. Mr. Immel?
MR. IMMEL: I just want a better understanding (indiscernible) if you have better communications with Mike Pulice, Mike Pulice has better communications with you, and more or less is it appropriate to say would you, Mayor, give more hands-on management over at the police department (indiscernible)? Will you be there? Walk through there? Those guys or girls don't expect you to walk in there. I mean, that just -- my philosophy of things that -- and his staff, any time of day, you may show up.
MAYOR HAYES: Yeah, we've done that.
MR. PULICE: He's done that.
MAYOR HAYES: Yeah, we ....
MR. PULICE: (Indiscernible - simultaneous speech) building's locked.
MAYOR HAYES: Yeah, and I'll continue to do that. That's not a problem.
MR. IMMEL: But I just want to see a better understanding that if you've got a problem, you're going to talk to this man.
MR. PULICE: It's been made perfectly clear to me that ....
MR. IMMEL: If he has a problem, he's going to be on you.
MR. PULICE: I don't think that the Mayor is the cause of this communication problem.
MR. IMMEL: No, I know that. I know that.
MAYOR HAYES: I think -- Pat, did you stick your hand up?
MR. COLE: No, just scratching.
MAYOR HAYES: Oh, okay. I must have just ....
MR. IMMEL: I just want that telephone call to be there. I don't think it ever was there, for a long time.
MR. IMMEL: Thank you.
MAYOR HAYES: Well, I'm done.
MR. CLEWORTH: When's everybody coming -- when's everybody going to be here? First meeting in January? They're not going to be here next week, obviously.
MR. PULICE: No, Keller's gone to a training mission. He leave Saturday and will be gone for a week. Steinnerd will be back in two days. If you're looking to bring them to exec session, the first meeting in January they'd probably be available. Frankly, I'm not sure that you should wait that long to do something to me, ....
MAYOR HAYES: To do something ....
MR. PULICE: .... I don't believe.
MAYOR HAYES: .... to you?
MAYOR HAYES: Okay. May I suggest this? Well, you know, I brought it to council, this is where I'm going to leave it. You gentlemen tell me what you think the appropriate punishment should be and we'll do it, and then we're done with it. And Mike and I will work on our own.
MR. IMMEL: I think the majority was two weeks and a letter of reprimand.
MAYOR HAYES: All right, that's what he'll get.
MR. WHITAKER: Well, wait a minute. I don't know that that was the majority at all. It's certainly not my position.
MAYOR HAYES: Oh, well, you can't really make it in exec, because I don't want to get in trouble here. But I agree with John. I think ....
MR. KUSS: We need to be real careful here.
MAYOR HAYES: Yeah. From what I hear, that sounds like the consensus, and I'm not upset about it. I just want to -- I got to deal with it. I'm going to be criticized either way, and I don't mind that. You may -- you know, I came to you, you say two weeks off, that's fine.
MR. WHITAKER: But Jim, I think that before we can reach a consensus we need to hear from these folks so that we have all the facts.
MAYOR HAYES: I think what he's saying ....
UNIDENTIFIED: (Indiscernible - simultaneous speech)
MR. WHITAKER: But I don't have a problem with that. But by the same token, ....
MAYOR HAYES: I think what Mike's saying - and I agree with Mike - you can't wait till January to make a decision here. You ought to do -- I mean, if that's what it is, let's do it, and then you do all your backup, you do all your cleanup or whatever you want to do, or either tell me don't do it until you decide on what you want to do.
MR. PULICE: I try to look at the big picture, quite frankly.
MAYOR HAYES: Okay. All right.
MR. PULICE: I wasn't willing to move back to lieutenant, but I think I probably deserve two weeks without pay.
UNIDENTIFIED: What do we tell Fischer out here, because I ....
MAYOR HAYES: I don't know. I don't know.
UNIDENTIFIED: .... think he's got contact with all of them. But as far as I'm concerned, I have no comment.
MR. PULICE: They're all standing out there waiting for ....
MAYOR HAYES: Yeah, they're probably all standing -- and where they'll get me is in deposition, and ....
MR. PULICE: Friday afternoon.
MAYOR HAYES: Yeah. Even if I don't say anything tonight, so I just might as well say something. Because when I go in that dep and raise my right hand, I'm going to tell the truth.
MR. CLEWORTH: Okay. You guys just don't have to go to that are so lucky.
MAYOR HAYES: Oh, God, believe me.
MR. PULICE: Those of us who have spent almost 40 hours on the stand and ....
MAYOR HAYES: And John, five hours, and I got to go back for ....
UNIDENTIFIED: I was an hour-and-a-half.
(Indiscernible - simultaneous speech)
MAYOR HAYES: All right. So can we get out of here? Because you can't take action in here anyway.
MR. CLEWORTH: You can't take action, but Mr. Mayor, I think more than that, I think we need to issue our own facts ....
MR. CLEWORTH: .... and findings here as a council. I'm sorry. And it takes time. It's going to take time.
UNIDENTIFIED: We can discuss that out in the open.
MAYOR HAYES: Yeah, you can -- when you come out, Jerry, you can discuss it, do whatever you want. I'm just telling you what I'm going to say.
MR. PULICE: But there's an expectation that you're going to issue your own facts.
MR. PULICE: And if you say that, I think that it would wait for January to discipline. But if we come out of here and there' nothing done, I don't think the public will accept that.
MAYOR HAYES: Pat, you got any comments on ....
MR. COLE: I would agree with that, that if you're going to go farther, that there's no rush to do anything quickly this week.
MR. PULICE: But we need to say that, if there's something else -- I mean, if this process is ongoing, otherwise they'll hound us to death.
UNIDENTIFIED: But yeah, I would ....
MR. SWARNER: Well, Billie Ray's right. You know, it's the integrity of the department. That's the thing that hurts the most, you know. You could come home and you got a person or two on your recorder screaming. Some people have identified themselves, some people haven't.
UNIDENTIFIED: (Indiscernible - away from microphone)
MR. SWARNER: You know, and people are saying -- you know, like this morning somebody, you know, said hi to (indiscernible), look what (indiscernible), and look what I got out of the evidence locker, you know. And yeah, it's funny maybe, but it's not funny to me.
MAYOR HAYES: It's not funny to me either, Romar.
MR. SWARNER: It's not funny. And I don't know what the answer is, but whatever you do, Mayor, I will back you up.
MAYOR HAYES: Okay. I think the answer -- and I think you hit it on the head here, Romar. What they say later is irrelevant to me. I don't even have to be here to hear what they say. What I think we have to do is have someone else say that the credibility is back in the police department. We've taken care of that. You can make all the statements, talk to everybody you want. Till you do that, you don't have credibility here, because people look at Keller and these guys all being in it together. I don't. I don't. What they're going to find out I already know. I already know what Keller's going to say.
MR. SWARNER: And it's going to take time.
MAYOR HAYES: He's already told me.
MR. SWARNER: And I don't dispute that. It's going to take time. I don't dispute that. It's going to take ....
MAYOR HAYES: This thing's been building, you know, over time.
MR. CLEWORTH: So are you going to find somebody to do that?
MAYOR HAYES: Oh, yeah. I would recommend -- and I -- didn't I tell you that, that I think ....
MR. PULICE: You didn't give a name, but you (indiscernible - away from microphone).
MAYOR HAYES: Right. It's hard -- who did I tell? I told Paul Keller, I told Keller. And Keller said that one of the problems you would have would be to get someone that's got credibility. Who do you get? Like I mentioned J.B. Carnahan, if we could have J.B. go through there and say, hey, you did A, B, C and D. Someone mentioned to me, no don't get J.B., get someone out of town to walk through there, and hopefully they'll find something and say, well, you need to fine-tune this. Their word would go a lot -- see, I've been working on this a long time. I haven't been sitting with my finger in my ear on this. I've talked to Keller and Steinnerd. I've talked to more to Keller, because Keller was the guy I put in charge. So I don't need to interview Keller. I mean, Keller and I have talked when I couldn't talk to Pulice. Because see, I couldn't talk to Pulice because at that time they viewed him as a suspect. I didn't.
MR. PULICE: I don't have any problems with the action ....
MAYOR HAYES: Yeah, neither did Keller. So everything I did was through Paul Keller. So if Frank Turney gets up here tonight and he says, yeah, you used Keller and they're all in it together. So what I'm trying to tell you is, to bring the credibility that Romar and Allen are talking about, I think you need to bring somebody in to look at the department.
MR. CLEWORTH: So what motion are we doing here tonight?
MAYOR HAYES: I don't know if you're doing any motions. I'm not doing any motions.
MR. CLEWORTH: No motion. Okay, no motion.
MAYOR HAYES: No motion.
UNIDENTIFIED: All right, we're out.
MAYOR HAYES: You let me know ....
MR. PULICE: What are we going to tell these folks standing ....
MR. WHITAKER: Well, yeah, wait a minute. That's a bit irresponsible to say, okay, no motion, no -- and then you go your way and we're stuck ....
MAYOR HAYES: Well, Jim, there's nothing else that I can possibly do. I came to you, all right? I told you what was what and you people said you want more input, you want to do more. I mean, that's up to you. There's nothing else for me to do here.
MR. WHITAKER: But Jim, it still, in my opinion, comes down to this. The public has not been made aware of all the facts. You have all the facts.
MR. WHITAKER: We have kind of all the facts, and the public has very few of the facts.
MAYOR HAYES: Well, that's where I disagree. I think what you people should say to them is that you're going to investigate it, you're going to look at it, and you may render some kind of something, a fact thing later, I mean, if that's what you want to say. I can't honestly say that. And so, I mean, you know, and I go along. And let me be absolutely clear, I go along with whatever you say the punishment ought to be for him. It's in your hands, and you people tell me when you want to do it and what punishment you want, because the council -- I mean, that's how I'm leaving it. So can we come out? I think Mr. Cleworth or someone can bring us out of exec.
MR. CLEWORTH: Are we ready? Well, the doors aren't open.
MAYOR HAYES: Oh, okay.
MR. CLEWORTH: Do we need to open the door?
MAYOR HAYES: Oh, wait a minute.
MR. COLE: Quick question. Are you planning on holding further interviews before you act or not? Knowing that helps Mike to know what he says tonight.
MR. PULICE: I'm in a position now where I don't want to talk to nobody about nothing, because I don't know where we're really heading. And I know they're going to stand out there, and the first one of us opens the door, they're going to get cornered first. Somebody else go out in front of me and I'll go out the back door.
MR. COLE: If the council's planning further interviews, he can always say, well, we're waiting to the end of those further interviews. If they aren't, then he ....
MR. PULICE: I mean, I would say something like I think you've asked me extremely leading question. It's my understanding that you're going to continue to look into this situation, and something will be done at a future date.
MR. CLEWORTH: That's my desire. I mean, we're in the minority and if people want to put it to bed tonight, fine. I want -- I think we should talk to some others. I think we should issue a report on behalf of this council.
MR. WHITAKER: I agree with Jerry.
UNIDENTIFIED: I think he had -- if more of us had had (indiscernible - away from microphone). I didn't hear it from Billie Ray and I didn't hear (indiscernible). But I think that's where it's going to end up at. I don't think we're going to be (indiscernible) another four weeks, find out who we're going to talk to, to a few more officers. That would depend on ....
MR. PULICE: I don't care how long I wait. I mean, it doesn't matter to me, but I think you have a public problem here. You (indiscernible - simultaneous speech).
MR. WHITAKER: He's not able to say anything and we're acting as if we're not doing anything.
MAYOR HAYES: Well, so it's either one or two things; you say two weeks off or nothing, you know. Maybe you aren't going to do ....
MR. PULICE: Can you investigate ....
MAYOR HAYES: .... anything.
UNIDENTIFIED: You know, at this point we need to do -- and I think probably giving it some thought, as much thought as we're going to give it.
MAYOR HAYES: Yeah, at 1:30.
UNIDENTIFIED: We need -- the punishment is secondary to -- and I think issuing a report and bringing in an outside expert to review the problem is probably the best way to remain -- build the confidence. We're going to have to reprimand him somehow, but to me that's secondary. I mean, if tomorrow we didn't do anything to Mike and we had, you know, great confidence in what people thought of our police force again, that maybe means that that's not going to happen.
MR. PULICE: I don't think whatever you do to me is going to change the situation (indiscernible).
MAYOR HAYES: Right, I agree.
UNIDENTIFIED: We tell the press how we're going to ....
UNIDENTIFIED: Tell them that the council is continuing investigation and we're going to issue a report probably in the middle of January, or first week in January, whenever you want to do it.
UNIDENTIFIED: Is that okay?
MAYOR HAYES: Okay. And I'll work on getting someone to come in, and the council will issue a report. That's ....
MR. PULICE: I think that's an excellent idea (indiscernible).
MAYOR HAYES: All right, let's open the door.
(Indiscernible - simultaneous speech)
MAYOR HAYES: Yeah, we're coming out now.
(Indiscernible - simultaneous speech)

) ss.
I, Sharon D. Gaunt, Notary Public in and for the State of Alaska, residing at Fairbanks, Alaska and electronic reporter for R & R Court Reporters, do hereby certify:
That the annexed and foregoing proceeding was transcribed by me from a tape obtained from Mr. Lee DeSpain, pursuant to a request to do so;
That said transcript is a true and correct transcription of the proceedings contained on said tape;
That I am not a relative nor employee nor attorney nor counsel of any of the parties, nor am I financially interested in this action.
That the original of said transcript has been retained by me for the purpose of filing with MR. THOMAS R. WICKWIRE, Attorney at Law, 2775 Hanson Road, Suite 1, Fairbanks, Alaska 99709.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and affixed my seal this 7th day of December, 1998.

SEAL _______________________________
Notary Public in and for Alaska
My Commission Expires: 09/03/00


P.O. Box 70392
Fairbanks, AK 99707
(907) 457-2333