Thursday, December 27, 2007

Should Mac fire Tyrone Lewis?

The Clarion-Ledger reported today:
Off and on for the past couple of years, the son of the training director who is now a Jackson deputy police chief has thrown disc jockey dance parties for high school and college students in the academy's gym.....
McMillin's primary concern with the dance parties was that neither Terrell Lewis nor his father, Deputy Chief Tyrone Lewis, carries liability insurance. That means if anyone attending one of these parties were to be hurt, the city could be sued for damages.....
The City Council must either contract with whoever wants to use the property or enact a policy that regulates how and under what circumstances public property can be used for private purposes, according to the state auditor's office. Thus, a police department employee can't enter into a contract for use of a police facility....
When questioned about the party on Saturday, Tyrone Lewis said he gave his son permission to use the academy because parents feel safer allowing their children to hang out there as opposed to private clubs. Also, alcohol is not served.
"The liability issue may be something we'll look at in the future," Lewis said.
Lewis said he did not charge his son or any other group to use the academy and screened who used it. However, Lewis could not name any users besides his son who charged people admission or made money off their private functions...

Terrell Lewis said he likes to use the academy because he can get off-duty officers to provide security. He also said the academy's gym is preferable because it is larger than clubs that have charged him $500 to $1,200 to rent their space. A party that draws a good crowd can fetch him several thousand dollars in one night. Lewis, a Jackson State University sophomore, said he uses the money to help pay for college....
Liability also was not an issue for the mayor. He said the city would pay any claim as long as he approved of what kind of private event was being held on the property. However, the City Council must sign off on claims.....

The first question to ask is should Mac fire Tyrone Lewis? This is nothing but nepotism and using city facilities to enrich family members. It's no different than awarding a government contract to a family member. However, this is Mississippi, I forgot. A state where Governor's relatives get fat Katrina contracts. Where attorney generals farm out deals worth millions of dollars in fees to campaign supporters who bribe judges. Where mayors try to get school board members removed who don't award contracts to their campaign supporters. Where a Hinds County Supervisor gets contracts awarded to former family members. Forgive me. I forgot where I was. That is what happens when one gets in a rhetorical rut. You just keep rambling along and forget your place.

However, I will forget where I am for the moment and say Mac should take a long, hard look at firing Lewis. I seriously doubt any regular person could have gotten such a party approved. It's a sweet deal. Use a facility for free and make several thousand dollars in one night. As a police commander and leader of the training academy, Lewis definitely knows better and should lead by example. Think I am being harsh? J. Edgar Hoover fired FBI agents for using FBI cars to take their kids to school. This is nothing short of Mr. Lewis using his privileged position to make money for his family. Period.

What is even more sad is Melton, who is supposed to be a sharp businessman, says liability is no concern and the city would pay any claims. Easy for him to say as it is not HIS money but OURS!!! All it takes is for one kid to get hurt. One fight to break out. One accident to happen. Then Dennis Sweet is filing a nice sized multi-million dollar lawsuit the city has to pay. Not the insurance company, the city. Millions of dollars it does not have. But hey, it's ok because Frank Melton assures us it's ok.

Mac needs to investigate this and if Lewis did allow his son to use the gym to make such large amounts of money, fire Lewis. I can hear it now. "Aw Kingfish, you're being too harsh. I know Tyrone. He's a great guy. He's a good cop." Maybe he is a great guy. I'm sure he is. It's always ok to let things slide when it's people we know. That is one of the problems with this area. It is ALWAYS someone we know and the corruption continues.


Anonymous said...

The premise of holding the dance in a secure, safe place is great. Keeps the kids off the street, out of the clubs and somewhat supervised. Great idea, but needs to be rented out to Tyrone's son as would any other facility. Signing a rental contract with the usual disclaimers would also protect the city from liability issues.

I say reprimand him, stop the use until appropriate paperwork is used and a rental fee collected. Why fire a good officer who made a bad decision. Give him a chance to do the right thing.

Kingfish said...

The parties are a good idea and the kids need such an event they can go to that is supervised and parents know their kids are safe.

However, this is also ethics 101. You don't use your position to enrich yourself or your family members. He is the commander of the training academy and he knows this.

However, lets just give him a little reprimand, which is competely meaningless as we all know he is a great guy and shouldn't have to suffer from a mistake.

Nope. sorry. He knew what this was and he knew what he was doing. He took advantage of his position for him and his son to make money off of the city.

Want an example of why JPD has been considered to be a joke for years? Because of this kind of crap by its leaders. Its time to start setting some standards and use this as an example of what will not be tolerated. He needs to go. This is nothing but malfeasance.

Kingfish said...

and by the way, by doing what he did he is NOT a good officer. He had more than once chance to do the right thing and instead made the decision for his son to make money off of the city instead.

Anonymous said...

His son made money using a city facility, not making money off the city. Sure, he owes for rental fees, yes.

You've never used someone you know to get something you wanted?

Now that's it's public let him make it right and go on. No need to fire a good law enforcement officer who otherwise does a good job.

Paul Mitchell said...

Man, it started out good on these comments and then fell apart. i think McMillan should be fired for NOT thinking. Yes, Lewis did some things the wrong way, but the overwhelming thing is good here. My thoughts here,

Anonymous said...

Why demote a man trying to form alliances with the young people of Jackson to stay in touch with what's happening in the streets? The only way to do that is to get the kids in a safe place and let them trust the police. The son profited, yes, but if it was a free party do you think it would have the same effect?

I think Tyrone got the shaft.

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