View Poll Results: How much privacy does a public employee deserve?

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  • It's my dime, I have a right to know.

    3 37.50%
  • Depends... (and I don't mean the adult diaper)

    4 50.00%
  • No, I'm fine with secrecy.

    1 12.50%
  • Not. A. Clue. Convince me.

    0 0%
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Thread: How much privacy does a public employee deserve?

  1. #1
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    How much privacy does a public employee deserve?

    How much privacy does a public employee deserve? An example...

    - A recent local issue had a police officer found sleeping in his patrol car while on duty. Someone took a picture and sent it to the newspaper. Big controversy. The police department launched an investigation, but absolutely refused to release any conclusions or details of the investigation, citing it as a "private personnel matter". They did announce later that it had been resolved, but refused any comment beyond that.

    Is the officer deserving of privacy in this matter as a private citizen? Or, does his public status as a publicly-funded employee, especially one entrusted with public safety, change things? Should he be held accountable to those who pay him, albeit pay him indirectly. (Note: I've never accepted the "I don't see your signature on my paycheck" crap. If you're that simple-minded, just wave the white flag now.)

    Thoughts?

    ETA: Please keep in mind that the example I gave is only an example, and is meant for discussion in an overall sense of what amount of privacy a public employee deserves. It is not meant as a discussion on the relative issues the employee might have done.
    Last edited by radcen; 11-01-11 at 05:41 PM.

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    Re: How much privacy does a public employee deserve?

    If the worst cops ever did was sleep on the job, we'd probably be a lot better off. But in this case, I think it's fine. Since it wasn't so detrimental and didn't actually result in someone being hurt wherein that particular cop could have intervened in some positive manner.
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    Re: How much privacy does a public employee deserve?

    Quote Originally Posted by radcen View Post
    How much privacy does a public employee deserve? An example...

    - A recent local issue had a police officer found sleeping in his patrol car while on duty. Someone took a picture and sent it to the newspaper. Big controversy. The police department launched an investigation, but absolutely refused to release any conclusions or details of the investigation, citing it as a "private personnel matter". They did announce later that it had been resolved, but refused any comment beyond that.

    Is the officer deserving of privacy in this matter as a private citizen? Or, does his public status as a publicly-funded employee, especially one entrusted with public safety, change things? Should he be held accountable to those who pay him, albeit pay him indirectly. (Note: I've never accepted the "I don't see your signature on my paycheck" crap. If you're that simple-minded, just wave the white flag now.)

    Thoughts?
    I think this is okay. Had the person who took the picture made it public, that'd be okay, too. But I'm comfortable with the police department not releasing his name. There'd be other incursions where I wouldn't be comfortable with it, but this one's A-OK to me.
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    Re: How much privacy does a public employee deserve?

    They have no expectation of privacy while on the tax payer's clock. If they are off the clock at home then sure they have a right to privacy.
    Last edited by jamesrage; 11-01-11 at 05:48 PM.
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    Re: How much privacy does a public employee deserve?

    Their job is public record or should be.
    If my employer caught me sleeping on the job, I'd be out of a job.
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    Re: How much privacy does a public employee deserve?

    Quote Originally Posted by radcen View Post
    How much privacy does a public employee deserve? An example...

    - A recent local issue had a police officer found sleeping in his patrol car while on duty. Someone took a picture and sent it to the newspaper. Big controversy. The police department launched an investigation, but absolutely refused to release any conclusions or details of the investigation, citing it as a "private personnel matter". They did announce later that it had been resolved, but refused any comment beyond that.

    Is the officer deserving of privacy in this matter as a private citizen? Or, does his public status as a publicly-funded employee, especially one entrusted with public safety, change things? Should he be held accountable to those who pay him, albeit pay him indirectly. (Note: I've never accepted the "I don't see your signature on my paycheck" crap. If you're that simple-minded, just wave the white flag now.)

    Thoughts?

    ETA: Please keep in mind that the example I gave is only an example, and is meant for discussion in an overall sense of what amount of privacy a public employee deserves. It is not meant as a discussion on the relative issues the employee might have done.
    If I got caught sleeping on the job, I would be fired. If I found an employee sleeping on the job, he would be fired. Since I'm paying a cop's salary, I think he should be fired, if he gets caught sleeping on the job.
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    Re: How much privacy does a public employee deserve?

    Quote Originally Posted by apdst View Post
    If I got caught sleeping on the job, I would be fired. If I found an employee sleeping on the job, he would be fired. Since I'm paying a cop's salary, I think he should be fired, if he gets caught sleeping on the job.
    The police did confirm that the officer was identified, and that the incident was indeed true, but didn't elaborate on what had been done. It is general consensus around the community that he is still employed.

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    Re: How much privacy does a public employee deserve?

    Quote Originally Posted by radcen View Post
    The police did confirm that the officer was identified, and that the incident was indeed true, but didn't elaborate on what had been done. It is general consensus around the community that he is still employed.
    I mean, if it were found to be a habit, then yes I can see firing the officer. If he did it once and the only proof is it being an isolated case, there can be some punishment involved, but not necessarily firing.
    You know the time is right to take control, we gotta take offense against the status quo

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    Re: How much privacy does a public employee deserve?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ikari View Post
    I mean, if it were found to be a habit, then yes I can see firing the officer. If he did it once and the only proof is it being an isolated case, there can be some punishment involved, but not necessarily firing.
    In this particular incident, I can go with that.

    What I am more concerned about, however, is the police department's refusal to publish what the result/punishment (if any) was. Being that he was a publicly paid employee, and especially combined with his being in a position of public trust, then the citizens have the right to know.

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    Re: How much privacy does a public employee deserve?

    Private personnel matters are an internal matter depending on the state and the circumstances. The final result may be a different matter but it depends on a lot of variables.

    When public safety is in question I would think that the Police Dept. would want to do everything they can to put this to bed as fast as possible.

    As a Member of the local City Council I would want to know that this type of infraction would be handled properly and the punishment be fitting.

    I have been involved in similar situations and it's tough to decide. Personnel issues in the City I was in are dealt with in closed Educative Session and may never be made public, ever.

    I have been involved in the review of a Municipal Judge and many more issues and even today many years later if I

    were to talk about what happened I could face jail time.

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