Community oversight timetable adjusted; Oversight group recommends ‘Best Practices’

Voters overwhelmingly favored Metro Charter Amendment 1 which creates a community oversight board of police officers.

In a letter to the Metro government and its citizens, Vice Mayor Jim Schulman stated that the timeline for the selection for Community Oversight Board members needs to be adjusted in order to meet the January 31 timeline required by the Charter Amendment: “I recognized the potential need to revise the proposed timeline for various confirmation tasks “[d]epending upon the number of nominations received.

“With 181 nominees to consider (each of whom deserves due consideration, including an interview) our previously proposed schedule requires adjustment,” said Schulman.

In order to speed up the process, Schulman has appointed four individual Special Subcommittees of the Rules, Confirmations, and Public Elections Committee to conduct interviews of the nominees.

Nominees had until last Friday to return completed questionnaires to the Metro Clerk’s office. As of Monday, there are 150 nominees, who have until noon Friday, January 17, to reserve a 10-minute interview time period via an online web link.

Per the Charter Amendment, two members of the board were to be nominated by the Mayor’s office. Mayor David Briley’s nominees, Phyllis Hildreth and Robert Cooper, are schedule to appear before the Council for election and confirmation on Tuesday, January 15.

Interviews of the remaining candidates will happen from January 16-19, with the election and confirmation nine candidates to fill the board on January 22, at a special called meeting of the full Metro Council.

In the meantime, Community Oversight Now has released a guide to ‘Best Practices for the Nashville Community Oversight Board’ drawn from these investigations and consultation with the National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement (NACOLE).

According to Community Oversight Now: “the ‘Best Practices’ approach will instill independence and transparency in the newly-established COB as required by Amendment 1, while ensuring that it actively engages populations typically marginalized by the public policy process and criminal justice system.”

Best practices include adopting a public disclosure process, as well as publish reports, data, and other relevant information online; holding some meetings in the community (off-campus of the Howard Office Building) and at night, when feasible, in order to be more accessible; rotating meetings at different locations in Davidson County; and reviewing Metro Nashville’s whistleblower protections.