Sunday, June 30, 2002

List of candidates to oversee reforms narrows

By Gregory Korte
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Lawyers for the city, the police union, the U.S. Justice Department and the Black United Front will interview seven candidates who want the job of overseeing sweeping reforms of the Cincinnati Police Department.

        The parties to the police reform settlements have refused to release the list of candidates still being considered. However, The Cincinnati Enquirer has confirmed from those involved in the process that Ohio Supreme Court Justice Andrew Douglas remains near the top of the list.

        The list of seven comes from the 11 firms who applied for the monitoring job, which will oversee implementation of two key police reform agreements over the next three to five years. They include law firms, auditors, and public safety consultants from Berkeley, Calif., to New York City.

        City officials have declined to release even the proposals. However, interviews and documents reviewed by the Enquirer indicate that monitor candidates have proposed costs as high as $5.6 million over five years.

        That's the estimate from Nixon Peabody, a Washington-based law firm that estimates 75 to 100 hours a month for partner Timothy McTaggart, 50 to 75 hours by more junior associates, and at least $135,000 a year for local lawyers, auditors and other consultants.

        The city, which bears all the costs, has budgeted $800,000 a year for the monitor.

        “This is not like pouring asphalt where you're going to give the contract to the lowest bidder,” said Scott Greenwood, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio and the Black United Front.

        He said interviews over the next several weeks could narrow the list even further. If they cannot agree to a single name by Oct. 2, U.S. District Judge Susan K. Dlott will make the selection.

        Judge Dlott has jurisdiction because she heard the landmark racial profiling lawsuit against the city that led to the so-called “collaborative agreement.”

        The parties to that lawsuit — including the Black United Front, the city and the Fraternal Order of Police — each submitted three names off the list of 11 monitor candidates who applied. Those who appeared on at least one list will be interviewed. No candidates appeared on every list, sources said.

        In addition, the monitor will oversee an agreement with the U.S. Justice Department that ended a year-long “patterns and practices” investigation.

        Justice Douglas, who turns 70 this month, must retire after his term expires this year because of age limits. He submitted a seven-page proposal with few details, saying any cost estimate for his services would be little more than “a guess.”

        His application was chosen both by the Fraternal Order of Police and the lawyers for the Black United Front. He is a pro-union and pro-police Republican who has also supported African-American interests, as when he wrote the majority opinion in Perkins vs. Norwood City Schools, which upheld Ohio's 15 percent minority set-aside for state contracts.

        Another group that will be interviewed includes Richard Jerome, who was a top lieutenant in the Justice Department in the Clinton Administration, and Saul Green, a former U.S. attorney in Michigan.


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