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Council Votes to Keep LAPD Hiring Goals

November 02, 1996|JODI WILGOREN and JIM NEWTON | TIMES STAFF WRITERS

The portions of the consent decree approved by the council must now be signed off on by the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, then return for another council vote Tuesday. Also on the docket Tuesday is a status conference in federal court in which a judge could approve the current compromise as the first step in a consent decree.

Lawmakers said they were unwilling to approve the entire 30-page consent decree Friday because it gave the ACLU and civil rights organizations too much power over LAPD decisions.

Among the items that have been sent back for further discussion are proposals to conduct attitude surveys of department personnel; allowing the plaintiffs to review promotion lists broken down by race and gender; hiring consultants to conduct training on diversity and harassment; and specifics about the discrimination unit.

Council members also were uneasy about entering into a detailed settlement without resolving the question of financial damages to the 80-plus plaintiffs in the class-action suit. Officials had estimated the cost at just implementing the remedies of the full decree at $28 million to $35 million over 18 years.

"It would be irresponsible to give a blank check on this issue and get nothing in return," said Councilman Richard Alatorre, who chairs the council's budget committee. "I support the idea of it, but we cannot just give an open book to those 80 people to sue the city."

Sobel, the ACLU lawyer, said she does not mind negotiations on compensation to plaintiffs, but does not want "the damages being held hostage to efforts to end discrimination in the department. We don't think it's a trade."

Alatorre, Councilman Hal Bernson and Council President John Ferraro voted against even the partial settlement during Friday's closed-door session, sources said. Council members Marvin Braude and Rudy Svorinich were not present at the time of the vote.

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