Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Wilkinsbur­g police union criticizes chief over officer’s discipline

- By Jonathan D. Silver

The firing of a Wilkinsbur­g police officer, the pending suspension of three others and a letter from some officers expressing no confidence in their chief have exposed labor-management strife in a police department that a union leader described as a “huge mess.”

On April 5 — the same day the borough council voted to fire Stephen Minton over allegation­s that he spent “idle” time during his shifts instead of working, and then tried to cover it up — an unsigned letter was delivered on behalf of some officers to council that was critical of police Chief Ophelia “Cookie” Coleman.

The three-page letter alleged unprofessi­onal conduct, poor treatment of officers and a hostile work environmen­t filled with “fear and uncertaint­y.”

“We’re prepared to go to war with Wilkinsbur­g,” Carl A. Bailey, secretary/treasurer and principal officer of Teamsters Local 205, which represents unionized Wilkinsbur­g police officers, said Monday. He claimed that the letter represente­d the opinion of a majority of those in the department, which is budgeted for two dozen officers.

“I think we have a bad chief who does not look after her people, who does not do a good job running her department,” Mr. Bailey said. “It’s a huge mess. I think it’s only going to get worse.”

“It’s a huge mess. I think it’s only going to get worse.” — Carl A. Bailey, Teamsters Local 205

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