Policy

Capitol Police Officer Unfairly Disciplined, Panel Reaffirms

Officer blames incident on poor relationship with former police chief

U.S. Capitol Police officers stand at their post in the Capitol Visitor Center. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

BY JEREMY SILK SMITH

The Board of Directors of the Congressional Office of Compliance has affirmed a previous ruling that the police department engaged in "unfair labor practices" when it disciplined an officer for refusing to work a last-minute double shift.

The officer in question, James Konczos, who was the chairman of the U.S. Capitol Police Labor Committee at the time, told Roll Call that Tuesday's decision by the board reaffirms that he should not have been punished back in 2014.

"This incident [is] nothing more than a residual effect of [former] Chief Kim Dine's refusal to work with me and the Labor Committee," he said.

[For Capitol Police, Change Keeps Coming]

A Capitol Police spokeswoman said the department does not comment on personnel matters.

The "command discipline" stemmed when Konczos was asked to work a double shift in June 2014, shortly before he was scheduled to get off work.

Konczos said that he could not work the extra shift because he needed to take his car to the mechanic and that the request for an "emergency shift" at the last minute — something he'd complained about in his capacity as the labor committee's chairman — was unjust.

His supervisor, Sgt. Danny McElroy, told him that taking his car to the mechanic was not a proper excuse.

Konczos then asked another officer, Albert Law, to cover for him, which Law did. If officers can find a "qualified replacement," they may not have to work an additional shift.

A complaint was filed against Konczos. The initial investigator, Sgt. Andrew Bolinger, disciplined Konczos for failing to report for duty and not getting a "qualified replacement."

When Konczos asked Bolinger why he was disciplined when he was able to find a replacement, Bolinger did not respond, according to the summary in the ruling.

The hearing officer who presided over Konczos' appeal ruled last August that Law was a qualified replacement for Konczos' shift and that the Capitol Police had improperly punished Konczos for complaining about how the department handled unscheduled emergency shifts.

The hearing officer ruled that any reference to the command discipline is to be expunged from Konczos' record.

The board of directors affirmed this decision on Tuesday.

Konczos said he is confident that the department's current labor committee chairman, Gus Papathanasiou, and the current chief, Matthew Verderosa, "will have a better working relationship then I did with Dine."

Konczos voluntarily retired in June, just short of 30 years on the job.

Contact Smith at jeremysmith@cqrollcall.com and follow him on Twitter @JeremySilkSmith.

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