Mendez said that PCRB does not share Brackney’s concerns about legality because both Acting City Attorney Lisa Robertson and independent legal counsel hired by the PCRB have reviewed the proposal and did not have any legal objections.
Councilor Michael Payne said he was concerned that since the PCRB is subject to the Freedom of Information Act, the privacy of investigations could be compromised. Vice Mayor Sena Magill was similarly worried that plaintiffs would be reluctant to issue complaints against the police because their anonymity could be compromised under FOIA.
“The feedback that we’ve gotten from NACOLE and from people who are experts in the field was that plaintiffs are less reluctant to go to an independent investigator or independent board than they are to go to the police, because the police have far more power to defend the police,” Mendez said.
Magill was also concerned that the level of work PCRB would be expected to do under this model could be overwhelming to the board, which is comprised solely of volunteers. She pointed to the open spots on the social services board that the city has struggled to fill, and said she was concerned this could happen to PCRB.
“What if we don’t have a quorum?” she said.
“This board ideally would be a governing board. Due to the fact that we haven’t had an executive director, we’ve had to get in and roll up our sleeves to get some of the policy aspects to move forward,” said Bellamy Brown, PCRB chair. “I think we’re at a point to where the operational aspect is significantly missing and a lot of things, even some of the FOIA protections might come under that operational aspect, as opposed to the board itself currently.”