Open Letter to the City Manager re: Iowa City Police Chief Search
To: Geoff Fruin <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Dear Mr. Fruin,
Thank you for replying to my inquiry regarding the ICPD Watch policing issues survey for police chief finalists. It took me some time to deconstruct your reply, but if I understood you correctly, you are saying that:
- You believe that you personally do not need to know the answers to the questions in the referenced survey in order to choose between the three finalists and proceed with a corresponding recommendation to the City Council.
- Consequently, you personally don’t feel the need to hear the feedback from the Iowa City community at large regarding the candidates’ responses to these questions.
- Generally speaking, you feel that the Iowa City community at large has had enough chances to learn about the candidates because two of the candidate interviews “involved representatives of the community”.
- Overall, you feel that this is your decision and that you already did enough to give the public a chance to weigh in.
It would be an understatement to say that this mindset is extremely condescending, not to mention short-sighted. While the City Manager is not an elected position, you have just as much responsibility to ensure that your decisions reflect the interests of the city population at large rather than your personal preferences as any of the council members. If you truly believe that you can represent the interests of our community on this immensely important appointment without knowing the answers to the questions in the aforementioned survey and without giving Iowa City residents more time to reflect on these answers and provide feedback, you are ill-suited to be in charge of this process.
Before you point out that the City Charter unambiguously gives you the sole power to appoint the chief of the police department, yes, I’m well aware of that fact. It does not negate my statement above. Your attitude on this issue does bring up the urgency of revising this and other powers given to your position, which Iowa City voters can do. The aftermath of this theater of a transparent process will make it an easy case to make.
Mr. Fruin’s original response we are replying to can be found here. Please see Iowa City Police Chief Search: Nov 10 Public Meet & Greet Report for more context.