New Orleans Civil Service Commission delays action on police commander

A New Orleans police commander removed from his post almost two years ago for his role in an off-duty job reviewing the city’s traffic camera tickets must wait a bit longer to find out if he can return to full service.

The Civil Service Commission heard new arguments Monday but delayed taking any action on fully reinstating Commander Ed Hosli after its members decided to give his attorneys more time to file new documents.

Meanwhile, the Inspector General’s Office continues a criminal investigation into the matter, something the attorneys said was news to them.

Hosli formed Anytime Solutions LLC to review tickets for a City Hall subcontractor, something for which he and other officers were paid.

Hosli was suspended without pay in May 2011 once word of that side job surfaced. New Orleans Police Department policy prohibits officers from forming companies to manage paid details.

Hosli is seeking a full return to work and wants to collect the salary and benefits he lost during an 88-day suspension that ended with an administrative reassignment from his position as leader of the New Orleans Police Department’s 8th District.

While Hosli cannot work in a traditional law enforcement capacity during his reassignment, his attorney, Claude Schlesinger, of the local chapter of the Fraternal Order or Police, said Monday during the Civil Service Commission’s monthly meeting that his client should be allowed to return to his commander position.

Schlesinger said that since Hosli has been reassigned, he has returned to his commander role twice: Once for Hurricane Isaac last year and again recently to coordinate security for Super Bowl XLVII.

“It just shows the hypocrisy in what the city administration is doing by keeping him on administrative reassignment during the ordinary day-to-day operations of the department,” Schlesinger told reporters after the meeting ended. “Why not let him function as a full-fledged police officer?”

Speaking during the commission’s meeting, Schlesinger described the past 21 months of Hosli’s professional life as a “media execution” and said the inspector general’s investigation is a “red herring” because of its length and in light of the fact that other officers involved with the company have not been punished.

Hosli was the leader of the NOPD’s 8th District, which patrols the French Quarter, Central Business District and Marigny Triangle, when Mayor Mitch Landrieu suspended him without pay for nearly three months during an internal NOPD investigation.

Once the investigation concluded, the department suspended Hosli from the job for three days before he returned to the department and was placed on desk duty.

While Hosli’s attorneys argued that their client is fit to return to work, Assistant City Attorney Elizabeth Robins said Hosli’s behavior was “unbecoming of an officer,” leading to the longer investigation that continues today.

Robins countered that Schlesinger’s claim of delay tactics by the city also was a red herring.

“It’s about more than the formation of an LLC,” she said.

Suzanne Wisdom, general counsel for the New Orleans Office of Inspector General, delivered a letter to the commission during the meeting that confirmed Hosli is the “subject” of a criminal investigation.

Because of the ongoing nature of the investigation she could not discuss it further, she said.

Hosli was not present at the meeting.

Schlesinger said he was surprised to learn Monday that the Office of Inspector General has an open criminal investigation into Hosli and said he hoped a resolution would be forthcoming.

“We don’t feel like he’s done anything wrong either administratively or criminal other than for having formed an LLC,” Schlesinger said.

“He was suspended for three days for forming the LLC, so we feel like this should come to an end.”