Conflicts of interest within ASUPD (and also ASU) have been briefly mentioned in previous posts, usually how these conflicts of interest impact the integrity of the FTO program. We wanted to expand upon this idea, and illustrate how these conflicts of interest have violated ASU policy, and have subsequently lead to more problems for ASUPD in the long run.
First, when we discuss conflicts of interest in terms of this post, what are we referring to? Usually, its nepotism, which is the unfair practice of giving jobs and other favors to relatives. According to ASU SPP 205, ASU’s policy in regards to nepotism states:
However, no employee of the university may hire, review, supervise, direct, discipline, promote, influence, or participate in decisions involving hire, retention, supervision, promotion, evaluation, or compensation of a relative or member of the employee’s established household (also referred to as “relative” in this policy).
Let’s now address some real-life ASUPD examples of nepotism, and how ASUPD has failed its employees.
Several years ago, Sergeant Phil Osborne appointed his then-Corporal wife Pam Osborne to be an FTO coordinator. Needless to say, if you are working as a rookie officer and you have complaints about how Pam Osborne treats you, your next move is to report it to her husband, Phil. How is that not a conflict of interest?
This same issue has also arisen in the current FTO program, with Sergeant Larry Fuchtman supervising his FTO wife Katie Fuchtman. Larry, also filling the role of bicycle Sgt, recently handpicked his wife to be a bicycle instructor.
Similarly, then-Assistant Chief Allen Clark had his wife Dena Clark working as the PD’s HR person. If anyone had complaints about how her husband treated his employees (this is the same man with several sexual harassment complaints against him), how many employees would be dissuaded from lodging a complaint against HR’s husband? Also, what motivation would Dena Clark have to properly initiate HR precessings against her husband? Most importantly, WHY did ASU’s HR allow such a gross conflict of interest (such as Alan/Dena Clark) to exist for several years unchecked?! This implicates negligent hiring and supervision practices on behalf of head of ASU’s HR, Kevin Salcido.
Even worse yet…if you have a problem with any of these husband and wife teams, the chain of command would dictate that one should attempt to address their issues with the next highest level supervisor. At ASU, chances are the next highest level supervisor will be personal friends with the person you have a grievance with, so any legitimate complaint one may have gets thrown out the window (as a side note, all these “friends” approve each others’ time sheets, which would explain why nearly all of them are able to get away with “time theft”).
The icing on the cake has to be if an employee, fearing retaliation from his/her supervisor, decides to call ASU’s Hotline for Ethics and Compliance (which allows an employee to file an anonymous complaint against the university). Mr. Morgan Olsen, also known as Chief Pickens’ boss, ultimately oversees this Ethics Hotline. Olsen, however, recently told an ASUPD employee who came to him with legtimate concerns that he doesn’t have respect for people that make complaints anonymously, and doesn’t taken anonymous complaints seriously. Wow.
ASU’s systems for checks and balances against nepotism–and subsequently the ability of an employee to voice concerns about the department free from retaliation–are nonexistent, and have allowed ASUPD’s problems to fester. In turn, this has created a negative work environment (because employees feel there is no appropriate avenue to have their concerns addressed) and ultimately a mass exodus from ASUPD.