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Madison Alder Marsha Rummel Will Now Need To Put On Her Big Girl Pants And Vote To Pay Police Chief’s Legal Bills

April 27, 2017

The next Madison City Council Meeting promises to separate those who support our police department from those who hate cops.  It really does come down to that fact.  It is a sad place to be.  But due to some members on the council who place gaining street cred ahead of responsible governing means a very unnecessary decision needs to be made.

At the crux of the matter is if the council decides to reimburse Police Chief Mike Koval over $21,000 in legal fees he had to pay to deal with a most convoluted matter that did not merit the level it rose to over the past months.

Near the end of a long and contentious council meeting Koval uttered a couple of words to a person who should have just simply been ignored.  But later Koval apologized for words that I would have used too in the same circumstance and the Police and Fire Commission ruled against penalizing the chief.

There is a city ordinance that states if the commission rules that way there is not a reason to deny payment of such legal bills.

But here is where the cop-haters come into play.

While the city Finance Committee recommended paying fees Koval incurred while defending himself some alders foolishly questioned the PFC’s language in its decision to not penalize Koval.  And with her usual reaction newly elected Council President Marsha Rummel requested a clarification on whether Koval “prevailed” — a requirement outlined in state statutes — in the complaint cases.

Rummel is playing for some adulation from those who need a reality check applied.  Instead of Rummel sitting down for a meeting and explaining what existing city ordinances demand in such a case of one prevailing with the PFC, she has attempted to play gutter politics with the credibility of a commission ruling and the reputation of our police chief.

This week the PFC chair Wesley Sparkman declined to comment further on their ruling.  They were not about to play the political game that Rummel had hoped to create over this matter.  And good for the PFC.

What is at stake is simply galling.  From Sept. 6, 2016 through March 15, 2017, Koval incurred $21,953 in legal fees to defend himself before the PFC in three separate complaints from the community.  And unless this malarkey is shut down and the legal bills paid there will be other malcontents who can gin up more false reasons to attack the chief.  Or is that what Rummel and other alders wish to have happen?

Two weeks ago I stated on this blog the council should have done their homework on this matter and resolved it at their previous meeting.

But why did not all those eager champions of getting the finer points do their research prior to last night’s meeting?  Why not reach out and use their time wisely before the meeting so that once seated in their chamber the work could be done?

That tactic of the council, however, is par for the course.  The council loves to delay and wind up doing what was required in 2-4 weeks.

Now that there is not to be anymore said from the PFC the council will need to buckle down and make a decision.  Council President Rummel will need to set her personal views aside, put on her big-girl pants and vote as the majority of this city desires–in favor of paying the legal bills.  It is time to put the childlike politics that this council created two weeks ago to bed–once and for all.

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