The city of Davenport issued a public apology Monday and paid former alderman Keith Meyer, who is hearing impaired, nearly $50,000 for how an employee responded when called to his house in a 2012 incident.
The city released the public apology late Monday afternoon. It did not include mention of a $49,990 payment to Meyer as part of the settlement. Under city rules, payments less than $50,000 can be authorized by the city attorney without approval by the City Council.
The incident came to light during Meyer's trial last year on a misdemeanor charge of assault for pointing a gun at a neighbor. He was acquitted.
During the trial, a recording from an open microphone during Meyer's arrest caught an unidentified civilian employee say that when he went to Meyer's house on Marquette Street for a criminal damage complaint, he knocked softly so Meyer wouldn't hear him.
As a service provider, the city is required by law to provide the service in a non-discriminatory manner.
The apology, signed by Police Chief Frank Donchez, City Attorney Tom Warner and City Administrator Craig Malin states that during the incident, "he was provided service that did not meet the standard of excellence and compassion Davenport employees hold each other to."
Police Department employees will undergo sensitivity training in order "to ensure all residents and visitors are provided the services demanded of those in positions of public trust." It also commended Meyer on his professionalism in resolving the issue.
Training with a group that supports hearing-impaired Iowans already has been scheduled, Donchez said.
The employee's comment prompted an internal investigation that led to Monday's apology, according to a release by the city. Donchez said one employee was disciplined but declined to say what it entailed.
"Anytime we can learn from our mistakes and improve as an organization is a good result," Donchez said.
Meyer is comfortable with the settlement.
"I initiated an out-of-court settlement to save the citizens of Davenport and myself money on lawyer fees and Scott County residents money on court expenses. And everybody's time and energy in the process," Meyer said in an emailed statement. "I didn't get everything I wanted, but that is what negotiation consists of.
"Unfortunately, no one except the voters can do anything about the incompetence of County Attorney Mike Walton and some of his staff attorneys."
Walton responded to comment.
"He is entitled to his opinion, but consider the source," he said. "The city didn't apologize for the original charge for which I have no doubt there was probable cause to pursue."
In the email, Meyer didn't explain what he initially asked for from the city.
Mayor Bill Gluba said he wasn't involved in the negotiations but said the employee's action was "totally inappropriate and indefensible."
"Keith was right. It was a most unfortunate situation," he said. "He is entitled to an apology from the Police Department. It is very, very poor judgment of the personnel involved."
Alderman Mike Matson, 7th Ward, who chairs the council's Public Safety Committee, said he also thought the settlement was appropriate and was less than the amount initially sought by Meyer.
Malin declined comment, referring questions regarding the settlement to Warner. The city attorney also declined comment
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