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Tristan Bonn

Public Safety Auditor Terminated

Tristan Bonn Told She Was Insubordinate

POSTED: 4:34 pm CST October 30, 2006
UPDATED: 10:50 am CST October 31, 2006

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Omaha's public safety auditor is out of a job one week after she delivered a report that was critical of the Omaha Police Department.

Tristan Bonn said Mayor Mike Fahey fired her on Monday after saving her job last summer from City Council cuts. In a letter of termination, Fahey told Bonn that he considered her actions to be insubordinate. Bonn said the mayor's chief of staff, Paul Landow, delivered the letter.

"I was not given any severance. No notice, benefit -- nothing. I was basically asked to leave the premises," Bonn said.

In an earlier memo to Bonn, Landow had told her that her public comments were unacceptable.

"You threw a public tantrum," the memo said. Landow said that Bonn's report "Anatomy of A Traffic Stop," which criticized Omaha police for being rude, was a "rehash of already discussed events ... (and) badly skewed." The memo said it was an "attempt to portray several improper stops as indicative of all stops."

"The most shocking part is being fired for doing your job," Bonn said.

Bonn said she was devastated to be fired, and she plans to invoke her civil service protection.

"They could fire me for no reason, but they can't fire for telling the truth. They can't. I hope I have some whistleblower protection because all I did was do my job," Bonn said.

Fahey absorbed Bonn's office into his in August 2005 after private funds ran out and the City Council refused to include funding in the budget.

Bonn said she is considering legal action against the city.

Councilman Jim Suttle, who voted to fund the auditor's office, said on Monday that he supports the mayor's decision.

There has been no comment from Police Chief Thomas Warren.

Police Union President Aaron Hanson said the mayor made a reasonable decision based on the auditor's last report.

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