Breaking News
More () »

New bill aims to help police and other public agencies get rid of bad employees

"Our current arbitration system makes it biased against getting rid of those few bad apples," State Representative (R) Pat Garofalo says.

MINNEAPOLIS — It's a problem Republican state representative Pat Garofalo has been worried about for years, but after recent events he felt it was high time to make a change.

"The incentives of our current arbitration system make it biased against getting rid of those few bad apples," Rep. Garofalo says.

Under his new bill, when a public employee, a police officer, teacher, what have you, gets fired for breaking the rules, a judge would decide if being fired was appropriate.

Garofalo says judges are impartial and can make decisions based on the facts.

That's different than the current system he says, where arbitrators make the decisions.

“Minnesota is one the few states that mandate this arbitration process,” Garofalo explains.

He says arbitrators are forced to please both sides so they can maintain an unbiased track record.

If their record ever strays too far in one direction, Garofalo says the arbitrator would have a hard time finding cases to work on.

Therefore, he argues arbitrators come with a significant amount of bias, because they may be inclined to make decisions based on their own personal status and not solely on the facts of each individual case.

“With this new process a law judge will decide the outcome, who is free to make an independent ruling without having concerns of being selected for future arbitration cases,” Garofalo says.

Former Minneapolis Police Chief Jenee Harteau says she encountered this problem numerous times during her career, where officers who violated department policy won arbitration and got their jobs back.

"When I terminated Blayne Lehner he was reinstated with 40 hours of time off without pay and he came back to the department, Harteau says.

Lehner was accused of using excessive force back in 2016.

Harteau says he got his job back and has since been fired again.

"How is a police leader, or any leader, or any employer supposed to hold their employees accountable?” Harteau says.

“This is one of many parts of a broken system.”

Garofalo shares her concern and is hoping his bill will give police chiefs and other state leaders more power to change the culture of their departments.

"If we have better cops, better teachers, better state employees, that's something that benefits every single Minnesotan,” Garofalo says.

The bill will be officially introduced during the legislature’s special session on June 12.

Representative Garofalo says he’s reaching out to Democrats on the other side to try and get their support.

RELATED: Chauvin charges elevated to 2nd-degree murder in Floyd's death, 3 other officers charged

RELATED: What is 3rd-degree murder and 2nd-degree manslaughter in Minnesota?

RELATED: Minnesota Dept. of Human Rights files civil rights charge against Minneapolis police

RELATED: What to expect from the Dept. of Human Rights investigation into MPD

Before You Leave, Check This Out