One of the investigative firms charged with helping Oakland police wade through Occupy Oakland misconduct complaints has just received a significant pay raise.
The contract for Burke Williams Sorenson LLP has almost tripled from $100,000 to $275,000, at the request of Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan.
According to a report from Jordan to city counicil, the raise was needed to handle additional work on a shortened timeline. The raise was approved as part of a summer recess provision of the city.
Funds approved fiscal year 2012-13 budget appropriated $750,000 for the
investigation of police internal affairs cases.
In a report to Council, Jordan said that there is an urgent need to act during the traditional summer break.
"The majority of cases assigned to Burke Williams Sorenson LLP must be completed by late August 2012 in order to comply with a court order issued in the Allen v. City of Oakland, et al., federal court case," Howard wrote. "Reassigning these cases and starting with a new investigator would jeopardize the city's ability to comply with legal and court mandated deadlines."
In May, federal Judge Thelton Henderson ordered the city to provide a specific plan on how it would address all outstanding internal investigations stemming from Occupy Oakland activities prior to Dec. 31. According to the report, the order from Henderson also shortened the deadline date for completion of the work.
California Government Code 3304 deadline requires internal investigations of misconduct complaints to be completed within 365 days in order to impose any potential discipline.
In response to both Henderson and the state law, Oakland hired five outside firms to help with the investigation of police misconduct complaints. Those firms are:
• Renne Sloan Holtzman Sakai LLP
• Burke Williams Sorenson LLP
• DR Associates International
• Belcher Ehle Medina & Associates Inc.
• Michael Glenn Investigations
Burke Williams Sorenson LLP is one of two law firms hired to perform police misconduct investigations stemming from Occupy Oakland.
With five additional cases added to their workload, the firm is now charged with having to interview "more than 50 OPD personnel, complainants and witnesses." As a result, Jordan wrote in the report, "Burke Williams Sorenson LLP determined that $100,000 would not be sufficient to complete a thorough investigation within the new timelines ordered by the court."
What did Chief Jordan say when he asked for more money to investigate police and Occupy Oakland? http://bit.ly/NiNPqp