The City’s Police Commission — already fractured over the fight to equip officers with Tasers and faced with a mandate to decrease a backlog of disciplinary cases — is one sneeze short of shutting down.
“If anyone calls in sick, we can’t have a meeting,” said commission Secretary Lt. Joe Reilly, commenting on the fact that only four of the seven seats are filled. “Already, our meeting at the end of the month is likely not to happen because one of the commissioners is out of town.”
The vulnerability of the commission, a civilian body that oversees police disciplinary hearings and sets the department’s policy, comes at a tumultuous time for the Police Department. The police-run crime lab is in turmoil, and the secrecy of police disciplinary cases in court hearings could lead to hundreds of dismissed cases.
Two mayoral nominations to the commission are pending; one is awaiting approval by the Board of Supervisors.
Commission President Joe Marshall cannot be confirmed by supervisors until after a May 20 meeting of the Rules Committee and the subsequent meeting of the full board May 25. The Mayor’s Office is expected to announce its second nomination, to replace Yvonne Lee, at that time.
The board, which also appoints members to the commission, is expected to name a selection at that meeting. Vincent Pan, who was serving the end of Supervisor David Campos’ term, opted not to be considered for renomination.
If Mayor Gavin Newsom’s office had renominated Marshall more than 60 days ago, Marshall could’ve been confirmed already per the City Charter, even if he ran into trouble with the board’s approval, Reilly said.
But Newsom didn’t renominate Marshall until April 27, three days before his term ended. In an e-mail to Reilly on April 30, Newsom’s appointment secretary, Matthew Goudeau, stressed the importance of the appointment.
“It would be best for the confirmation process to begin sooner, as there are concerns about the ability to form a quorum at the Police Commission with only four of the seven seats currently filled,” Goudeau wrote.
Newsom spokesman Tony Winnicker said the Marshall appointment was meant to be heard March 6, but Campos, the chair of the Rules Committee, would not calendar the appointment until the end of May.