A federal judge has terminated the contract of a compliance director appointed by the court to oversee reforms in the Oakland Police Department.
U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson of San Francisco said in an order issued Wednesday that he has decided to combine the powers of the compliance director with those of a court-appointed monitor.
Beginning March 10, Monitor Robert Warshaw will take over Compliance Director Thomas Frazier’s authority to demote or fire the police chief if necessary in order to carry out reforms, and to authorize expenditures of less than $250,000, among other powers.
Frazier’s one-year contract, which began last March 11, will not be renewed, the judge said.
Henderson wrote in his order that it “has proven to be unnecessarily duplicative and has been less efficient and more expensive than the court contemplated” to have the dual positions.
Sean Maher, a spokesman for Mayor Jean Quan, said the mayor’s office would have a statement later today.
Henderson created the compliance director position in December 2012 to help oversee changes required by the settlement of a 2000 lawsuit in which 119 citizens alleged that four officers known as “the Riders” beat citizens, made false arrests and planted phony evidence.
The 2003 settlement calls for 51 reforms—a dozen of which have yet to be completed, according to John Burris, a lawyer for the citizens.
Burris said today, “There was a question as to whether sufficient progress has been made to justify the compliance director’s continuation and the price,” which he said was an annual salary of $270,000.
The establishment of the powerful compliance director position, agreed to by the city and the citizens who sued, was a step short of a more drastic measure initially sought by the plaintiffs to have the Police Department placed in a receivership.
Frazier is a former Baltimore police commissioner and Warshaw is a former police chief of Rochester, N.Y.
Julia Cheever, Bay City News