Monday, January 8, 2007

Doing The Job?

The McNeillys Arriving
At Federal Court

A reader comment posted to The Busman's Holiday expresses opinions I've now heard from several people about Catherine McNeilly's illness and her ability to serve in law enforcement. The comment also repeats a popular misconception about when and how she became a police commander. It prompted me to do some research and here's what I've found.

The reader said...

"Ms. McNeilly is probably correct in her actions. Having said that she should also not be on the job. Her medical condition would prevent her from doing the job of police officer. Also if it were not for her husband, the former chief, she would not have been promoted to Cmdr."

My response in the ‘Comments’ area...

This 2003 Tribune-Review article shows that Catherine McNeilly became a police commander in 1992. That's four years before her husband became police chief in April, 2006.

The same Trib article documents that after developing multiple sclerosis, McNeilly had to fight the city to get her job back. She did so by filing a federal complaint charging discrimination based on disability. Notice how the article describes her duties at the time her illness began: "Her role had included administrative oversight of the personnel department, reviewing reports and other managerial duties."

It appears that she established through her federal complaint that her medical condition would not prevent her from doing her job as a police officer.

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