Ballard testifies ‘that’s my call as the chief’ against union labor complaint

Local News

Honolulu police Chief Susan Ballard is speaking out about a labor complaint filed against her by the police union.

The State of Hawaii Police Officers Union filed a complaint the Honolulu Police Department after Chief Ballard reassigned union president Tenari Maafala and three other union officials to less desirable duties.

Maafala was assigned to patrol duty in Waikiki working the overnight shift shortly after Ballard became police chief. 

The union says according to the collective bargaining agreement, an employee cannot be reassigned unless he or she asked to be moved.

“Doesn’t the seniority apply to both transfers and reassignments?” SHOPO attorney Vladmir Devens asked Ballard.

“For the most part, but if there’s an opening and we need to go there for operational need then that’s my call as the chief,” answered Ballard.  “And the need as based on the to from because the rise in crime in district six and the mayor wanting additional personnel down in Waikiki to address that crime.”

The union also says Ballard violated department policy by openly discussing personnel matters during an interview and said Maafala and other officers with the peer support unit abused overtime privileges.

Maafala testified that as commander of the unit he should have received lieutenant wages even though he was a sergeant. 

He says he did not claim the extra pay along with overtime hours that he was entitled to get.

SHOPO made a point that Maafala had a spotless record as a police officer which the chief said was never in question.

“Were you aware that some of the comments about Maafala was that he went above and beyond the call of duty?” asked Devens to Ballard.

She responded, “Once again I never said anything about his performance. His performance as being a good officer.”

At the end of the testimony on Friday, the City and County of Honolulu filed a motion to dismiss the labor complaint.

It could take weeks before any decision is made.

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