Opinion: Police take a step in the right direction; Los Altos should obey the law; payouts to former employees shouldn’t be secret

OPINION

BY DAVE PRICE
Daily Post Editor

I’ve devoted a number of columns to wrongdoing by police, so I was happy the other day to learn about something the Palo Alto police are planning that should improve law enforcement.

During a candidate interview, former Mayor Pat Burt told me and reporter Sara Tabin that police wanted to hire a mental health clinician who would accompany officers on calls involving a person who was having a psychiatric problem.

Tabin called Acting Capt. James Reifschneider who confirmed …

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1 Comment

  1. Payouts to former employees in private industry can be secret. Payouts from government agencies with taxpayer dollars should not be:

    While such settlement agreements are standard in private industry to protect the corporation’s “brand,” the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against government’s ability to silence dissent even if a contract was signed in a settlement.

    It has been argued that such agreements by the government raise serious political accountability questions. Why did the government agree to the payout? Don’t citizens have a right to know?

    In matters of public concern, if the electorate learns that government agencies require parties to sign non-disparagement agreements for payments of cash, the people may speculate that the government is trying to hide something with a quid pro quo.

    We see suppression of truth happening in Washington daily. There are attempts by powerful people (i.e., the President) to silence Inspector Generals investigating his administration. There are attempts to silence “disgruntled employees” from speaking out against the government (didn’t Trump label General Mattis a “disgruntled employee” in an effort to discredit him?).

    Perhaps individuals who sign a settlement agreement are coerced into doing so? (I can speak to that).

    Using taxpayer dollars as “hush money” in a quid pro quo violates principles of government transparency and integrity.

    “We don’t discuss personnel matters” is a reasonable statement in private industry. Except for national security issues, is it acceptable from a government agency to use public money in secret for their subterfuge?

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