The police administration has hit a roadblock as it tries to resolve misconduct charges against a commander: He evidently won't talk.
The police chief has sent at least two certified letters to Capt. Anthony Paventi's home in Southington, but they bounced back marked "Refused."
Chief William Gagliardi put Paventi on paid leave Sept. 21 after police spent weeks investigating a woman's account that the captain had repeatedly had sex with her, while on duty, several years ago. The investigation expanded to cover more allegations of more recent misconduct.
Mayor Timothy Stewart directed Gagliardi to resolve the matter, but acknowledged last week that the chief told him Paventi simply doesn't respond to notices scheduling a conference or hearing.
"I've told the chief to go ahead and schedule another hearing - if he doesn't show up, so be it. We need to get to the end of the matter," Stewart said. "The chief has the authority to discipline."
Paventi was commander of the department's professional standards unit, where he oversaw training and internal investigations. After an hourslong meeting with Gagliardi on Sept. 21, he ended up turning in his gun, shield, police ID and the keys to his city-owned 2011 Ford Taurus.
Gagliardi said such a move is routine during an internal investigation. Paventi's case may be getting expensive for taxpayers, though. Paventi has been on paid leave from his $93,000-a-year post for 6 1/2 weeks, an estimated cost of more than $11,000 in salary alone -- better than $1,700 a week.
Paventi, 41, reportedly filed for medical leave after Sept. 21, but the city has not accepted that application.
Some officers in the department have privately questioned why the issue is dragging on, saying that ordinary patrol officers in such a situation would be ordered to appear promptly for a hearing and then disciplined for insubordination if they didn't show up.
The city is in a difficult situation with Paventi, as he's a defendant - along with Gagliardi and Capt. Dennis Beatty - in lawsuits from current and former female patrol officers alleging gender bias, discrimination or sexual harassment.
Union President John Gonzalez has steadfastly stood by the administration, and said at a recent city council meeting that its troubles have been blown out of proportion.
"It's no secret there's been some negative press - it's not an accurate portrayal of our department," he told the council. "Our union has a good working relationship with the chief, the police commission and city hall."
Stewart has blamed a widening series of troubles in the police administration on "malcontents," but has appeared openly frustrated at delays in handling the Paventi case. Stewart predicted last month that he'd have the matter cleared up before he leaves office Nov. 15, but said Friday that Paventi's hearing probably won't be scheduled until late November.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun