The fallout from the Fiesta en la Calle affair isn’t over despite developments in the past week that to some degree cleared primary players.
The Ancel Glink law firm will continue with an investigation into relations between City Hall and the police department, Officer Joe Clement faces a 25-day suspension, and Sgt. Lindsey Heavener is considering a lawsuit over the matter.
Heavener, who was accused of drinking while on duty at Fiesta en la Calle, has been cleared in a police department internal investigation.
The City Council this week dismissed the ethics complaints that Heavener filed against Mayor Bob O’Dekirk, who made the accusation, and against council member Jan Quillman, who Heavener said repeated it, although Quillman said she did not.
Whatever the mayor and Quillman said at the Sept. 14 street festival, Ancel Glink determined that any comments elected city officials may have made about a police officer’s sobriety, whether they were true or not, are not subject to the city’s ethics ordinance.
The council on Tuesday voted, 7-0, – O’Dekirk and Quillman did not participate in the vote – to dismiss the ethics complaints without commenting on whether O’Dekirk or Quillman made false accusations.
The dismissal provides a list of what the city’s ethics ordinance does not allow.
“The city’s ethics legislation prohibits elected officials from having an interest in city business, employing relatives, exerting improper influence, using or disclosing confidential information, regulating a business in which the official is involved, representing a person before the council, improper contact with developers, soliciting contributions, engaging in prohibited political activities, disgorging corporate opportunity and accepting gifts in violations of the gift ban regulations,” according to a legal analysis provided with the order.
It goes on to state that the ordinance does not apply to the allegations in Heavener’s complaints.
“The way I interpret it, nobody was exonerated of anything,” Heavener said. “The ruling was kind of a technicality because our outdated ordinance does not apply to that kind of behavior by elected officials.”
Heavener said he still has complaints filed with the city’s Human Resources Department alleging workplace harassment and the creation of a hostile work environment. He also is consulting with a lawyer about a possible lawsuit over the matter.
Quillman, meanwhile, contends she did nothing other than hear O’Dekirk’s comments that night. After the council voted to dismiss the complaint against her, Quillman said she had been exonerated.
“It never happened,” she said.
Enough happened, however, that Clement faces a possible suspension.
The reasons for his suspension have not been made public, but are apparently tied to the police department’s internal investigation into what happened at Fiesta en la Calle.
According to a police department memo, Clement also claimed that Heavener had been drinking while on duty at Fiesta en la Calle. During the internal investigation, Clement was not allowed to go to the mayor’s office, where he normally worked assisting in the investigation of liquor licenses.
Clement has appealed his suspension to the Joliet Board of Fire and Police Commissioners, and details should come out at a board hearing.
It’s not clear when the police board will hold the hearing.
On Thursday, the city sent notice that the January meeting of the police board was canceled for lack of an agenda. The next board meeting is scheduled for Feb. 10.
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