Will the Tom Angel scandal come up at the Burbank City Council meeting tonight? There doesn’t appear to be an item related to the scandal on tonight’s agenda. However, there is evidence that City Hall officials recently received information related to the scandal.
On May 1, the news broke that Angel had resigned as Chief of Staff at the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department due to an avalanche of criticism surrounding the revelation he had forwarded some emails, which disparaged, mocked, or degraded certain groups while Deputy Police Chief at the BPD. Media City Groove has acquired documents about the matter sent to Burbank City Interim City Manager, Ron Davis, by Chief Scott LaChasse along with Deputy Chief Michael Albanese and police administrator Josephine Wilson, dated May 2.
City Manager Davis received a 5 page document/memo, with several attachments, and in the subject line: “BURBANK POLICE DEPARTMENT’S EMAIL AUDIT SYSTEM DEPUTY CHIEF TOM ANGEL’S EMAIL EXCHANGES.” In the document, it’s acknowledged: “Deputy Chief Tom Angel received two emails in 2012 and three emails in 2013 from outside of the Department which he forwarded to a private email address. When (Deputy) Chief Angel forwarded those emails, he violated both City and Department policy. It was not until 2014 when two Public Records Act (PRA) requests were submitted by an attorney, Mr. Travis Poteat, that the Department became aware of the email violations. The PRA requests included information about derogatory terms in email accounts for the Chief, Deputy Chief and three Captains, among others. Resultant from the PRA request, a total of 5,187 emails were individually reviewed based on a 30-word identifier. Of the 5,187 emails, five were deemed inappropriate and attributed to Deputy Chief Angel. On April 4, 2016 another PRA request from the Burbank Leader was submitted for the same information previously released to Mr. Poteat in 2014. The records were provided to the Burbank Leader on April 12, 2016.”
Under the heading Department Actions:
” The actions involving Deputy Chief Angel were immediate, direct and included notification to the City Manager; and, the City Attorney had active involvement throughout this process. Consistent with other Department employees who committed similar policy violations, Deputy Chief Angel received a verbal warning by Chief LaChasse in April 2014. Chief LaChasse’s rationale for providing a verbal counseling session to Deputy Chief Angel was due to his 40-plus years of exceptional service in law enforcement. In addition, Chief LaChasse considered the following in his decision to provide verbal counseling; Deputy Chief Angel’s commitment to diversity in hiring and department-wide promotions, the implementation of realistic changes in the recruiting process, his ongoing interaction with a diverse community, the expansion of the community academies to include the hearing impaired, the Spanish and Armenian speaking population. Furthermore Chief LaChasse was certain that the email incidents associated with Deputy Chief Angel were an anomaly and did not characterize his integrity and personal character. Both Chief LaChasse and the City Manager(Mark Scott) deemed that no further action was required.”
Angel’s leadership position as Deputy Chief required a higher standard than what was applied in the email case by LaChasse and then City Manager Mark Scott. Since Scott is gone, only City Attorney Amy Albano and Chief LaChasse are left to answer to the handling of the case. For LaChasse it has ignited previous allegations and concerns about his judgment and leadership of the BPD.
This issue is too important to leave hanging and the city council needs to weigh in as soon as possible. So why not tonight?