Going into month nine of the investigation of Police Chief Eric Bush and his subsequent paid administrative leave, we have recently learned that the resolution to the whole situation could come as early as the middle of this month.

Let’s hope that is the case. A longer investigation will only further upset the citizens who are paying his salary through their tax dollars, and the city officials and staff who have to keep their mouths shut despite taking considerable criticism for the way the situation has unfolded.

The ever-elusive third-party investigation report now lies in the hands of both the City Attorney Carl Dutli and Bush and his legal team. Each party is reviewing the document and a decision should come soon.

Once the review concludes, the city leaders are expected to make a decision regarding the future of Bush with the city. We don’t know if that means he retains his post without punitive action, is reinstalled as chief with some sort of disciplinary measure, or if his employment with the city is terminated.

We don’t know what direction this will go, but what we do know is that there is a chance that the investigation details may never become public. Due to laws governing personnel matters, we may never know why the investigation took place or what allegations Bush faced.

Dutli explained that when it comes to such a report, its release must follow some sort of disciplinary action, but even then, there are other standards to meet. He said that even when discipline is imposed there is a balancing test that weighs the privacy rights of the employee versus the right of the public to know.

While we understand that the city will be bound by certain legal standards regarding what it can disclose, we would hope that they would at least give citizens some sort of explanation. Although city leaders initially hoped for a resolution within a month or two at the most, it has taken nine months. Taxpayers have paid the salary of police chief for nine months, a total that likely ranges between $60,000 and $80,000. Furthermore, the community has been left wondering the fate of the man who is leading their public safety institution.

We feel that if at all possible, the city should make an effort to tell citizens what the past nine months was all about. If there are any legal ways to disclose an explanation, we feel they owe that to the people who paid for his leave of absence.

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