Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Mayor Briley Nominates Phyllis Hildreth and Bob Cooper to Police Community Oversight Board

Press release - Mayor David Briley today announced his nominations of Phyllis Hildreth and Bob Cooper to serve on the Community Oversight Board (COB). The recently enacted charter amendment allows the Mayor to appoint two members to the 11-member COB.

Ms. Hildreth currently serves as Vice President for Institutional Advancement and Strategic Partnerships at American Baptist College. Mr. Cooper, a former Tennessee Attorney General, is a member of the Compliance & Government Investigations Practice Group at Bass Berry & Sims.

“Ms. Hildreth and Mr. Cooper each bring a unique blend of skills and expertise that will be critical assets to the COB,” said Mayor Briley. “I am 100 percent committed to making the COB as effective as possible, and these two nominees will go a long way in ensuring that. Both have experience in the creation and management of new organizations dedicated to the pursuit of justice, and I look forward to their swift confirmations by the Metro Council.”

Ms. Hildreth’s experience includes serving as Chief Counsel in the Office of the Public Defender for the State of Maryland, as Deputy Secretary for the State of Maryland Department of Juvenile Justice, and as Managing Director for the Baltimore City Juvenile Justice Center. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and a Doctor of Jurisprudence Degree from the University of Maryland.

Ms. Hildreth currently serves on the Metro Human Relations Commission, a position from which she will step down so that she may serve on the COB.

Mr. Cooper held the position of Tennessee Attorney General from 2006 to 2014 and served as legal counsel to Gov. Phil Bredesen from 2003 to 2006. Mr. Cooper chaired the Southern Region of the National Association of Attorneys General in 2012-2013 and Metro’s Charter Revision Commission.
He also taught Campaign Finance and Elections for almost 20 years as an adjunct professor of law at Vanderbilt Law School. Prior to entering private practice, Mr. Cooper served as a law clerk for The Honorable Louis F. Oberdorfer of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

A member of the Tennessee bar since 1984, Mr. Cooper earned his law degree from Yale Law School and his bachelor’s degree from Princeton University.

Rod's Comment: I do not know these people but at least they appear to be people with a good education and credentials.  I would assume the mayor's two appointees will be confirmed. I will follow with interest who is nominated for the other nine seats on the eleven member board.

Today, December 18th, is the deadline for submitting nomination.  After nominations are received a questionnaire will be sent to all nominees and the questionnaires must be returned by January 4th.  Candidates will then appear before the Rules committee of the Council for interviews and the committee will make recommendations.  I don't know, but I suspect that rather than make a choice among the nominees, the Rules committee will recommend everyone who meets the basic requirement. 

On January 15th, the Council will then select from the nominees the nine remaining seats of the eleven seats to be filled. Seven of the Board members must be people who are nominated by "community organizations" or by private petition signed by 50 Davidson County residents. However, at least four of these seven  members must reside in "economically distressed communities."  The text of this charter amendment does not define either "community organization" nor "economically distressed communities." There is no requirement that the petition signers be voters or even citizens and there is no age requirement for the petition signers.

Two other of the members must be people nominated by Council Representatives. No one with a law enforcement background or closely related to a law enforcement officer is eligible to serve.

This legislation is poorly written. I suspect that before it is all over this charter amendment will be subject to a legal challenge and be negated by a court or be nullified by the state legislature.

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