Mader’s standing slipped again this past July with the appointment of Joe Gunn as the Police Commission’s executive director — and Mader’s boss, according to the commission’s interpretation of the city charter. Gunn was a commander and 20-year LAPD veteran when he retired in 1979 to pursue a screenwriting career. He was appointed deputy mayor in 1996 and served as Riordan’s point man on Parks’ selection as police chief.
By then, Mader was finding all her official contacts strained. In her testimony before the Charter Reform Commission, Mader described a Police Department where personnel are under orders to let the chief know if they have been contacted by the Inspector General’s Office; calls from the chief to the commissioners were often followed by questions from the commission’s executive director.
Her office was supposed to have unrestricted access to department files, but was able to get information only on a piecemeal basis. And there was the time that officers from Internal Affairs came to her office with tweezers and a demand for a complaint letter — and planned to search for fingerprints to determine who had sent it.
The final escalation against Mader came in September, when the City Council approved an extraordinary pay hike for Gunn, reasoning that his salary should exceed Mader’s because he was her boss. When Councilwoman Jackie Goldberg balked at that hierarchy of command, Gunn was emphatic. He supervised Mader "on a daily basis," Gunn told Goldberg. "On her special projects, special investigations, she has to gain my approval."
Gunn and the commissioners point to ambiguous wording in the city charter to confirm their authority; others are more equivocal. "Somewhere along the line, this reporting relationship took form and no one said anything," said Frederick N. Merkin of the City Attorney’s Office, who wrote the charter language that was approved by Los Angeles voters in April 1995. "I have no recollection that it was an issue at any time until this most recent time."
Former Police Commissioner Fisher speaks of the inspector-general position as one that was taking shape after the position was legally created.
"We did succeed in upgrading the salary and status of the inspector general when the commission had a better idea of how to use an inspector general," Fisher said.