One accusation that got lost in the coverage of the Mike Sanford investigation surrounds the assistant chief's purported attempt to influence the sergeant's exam. That's likely because it was hard to figure out exactly what the allegation was. But we do know one thing from the state patrol's investigation report.
Sanford, in accordance with Chief John Diaz's wishes, really, really wanted one book to be on the exam bibliography. It apparently became a sore point between Sanford and a city employee (whose name is redacted in the patrol's report). This employee was apparently so annoyed by Sanford's bugging her on the subject that she didn't answer the phone when she suspected it was the assistant chief calling.
Like an ever hopeful suitor, Sanford kept trying, even going so far as to bring her a vase of flowers and write her a note telling her how lucky the city was to have her as an employee.
And what was this book that Sanford was trying so hard to push onto the test? It's a feel-good treatise on community building called Community: The Structure of Belonging. The author is a Cincinnati consultant named Peter Block who, according to his website, prides himself on offering "an alternative to the patriarchal beliefs that dominate our culture."
From the book flap:
Block helps us see how we can change the existing context of community from one of deficiencies, interests, and entitlement to one of possibility, generosity, and gifts. Questions are more important than answers in this effort, which means leadership is not a matter of style or vision but is about getting the right people together in the right way: convening is a more critical skill than commanding.
Ah ha! Just what you'd expect of a guy who talks of SPD's arrestees as "clients." (See his interview in our cover story in March.) You can see why some within SPD were so steaming mad that they called for an investigation. There's no reason to think that something else might be at work, like say Sanford's brief to shake things up in the wake of the DOJ investigation.
Incidentally, Sanford was unsuccessful in getting the book onto the exam, according to the patrol's report. The complaint, apparently, was that he even tried.