Letters to the Editor

Civil service files missing before hiring | Letters | Dec. 9

In last week’s paper, you ran a story reporting a statement by City Manager Brenda Bauer that civil service files are “missing,” and that these files are missing because I mishandled them as the commission’s secretary/examiner.

Further, according to your story, one of the missing files contains important documents about Jeff Benkert, the officer who fatally shot Douglas Ostling.

This is an extremely serious allegation, and a response is needed. I would like to bring the following facts to your readers’ attention:

The Bainbridge Island Civil Service Commission does not keep much in the way of documents on police department employees. It keeps, at best, city applications and some testing material.

Detailed personnel files about officers – background checks, psychological exams, performance reviews, disciplinary actions – are kept by the police department, not the commission.

Civil service commission files were not inventoried when I arrived, and they were accessible to people outside the civil service commission.

In April, I was informed in writing, by the city administration, that part of Officer Benkert’s file was missing from the city’s filing system.

It is highly unlikely that both city hall and civil service would be missing copies unless the file was handled improperly at the time of application, which was years before I took my position.

In sum: I inherited noninventoried files in a filing cabinet with shared keys. The file the city manager “discovered” as missing was reported missing, months ago, by one of her employees. The suggestion that anything went “missing” on my watch is not supported by the facts, and the record needs to be corrected.

Kim Hendrickson, Douglas Drive

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