Mantua police chief said council has not been transparent about allegations

Mantua Police Department. Lyndsey Brennan/The Portager

In a letter to Mantua village leaders, Police Chief Joe Urso appeared to push back against an investigation initiated by council into allegations of conflicts of interest in the department.

Urso submitted the letter Dec. 20 during a regular village council meeting, asking that it be entered into the minutes.

In it, he said the council did not follow proper procedures or produce any evidence that a complaint against him had been made. 

“Council is continually mentioning having transparency within the village government,” Urso wrote. “However, to date, there has not been made available a formal initial written complaint which prompted this investigation into the alleged misconduct and wrongdoings that’s stated within the complaint. This is not transparency, nor did council follow the proper procedures.”

At issue is the village’s ongoing investigation into “potential conflicts of interest, wrongdoings, and a lack of transparency” related to “the romantic relationship between Chief Joe Urso and his subordinate, Patrolman [sic] Miranda Brothers,” according to a Sept. 27 letter from Council President Tammy Meyer to the mayor.

Appended to Meyer’s letter was a “complaint” that contained a list of questions but no actual claims of wrongdoing. No one on the village council has disclosed the source of the allegations against the chief or provided any evidence to support their decision to launch an investigation.

Council hired Dean DePiero, law director for the City of Aurora, to conduct the investigation at a cost to the village of $190 per hour.

It is not clear if any romantic relationship exists, but even if there is one, nothing in village policy prohibits workplace relationships even between superiors and subordinates in the same department.

In his letter, Urso pointed out that village council “acknowledges that there has been no violation of the Mantua Village Employee Handbook, yet still proceeded to initiate the investigation.” 

Again citing the village employee handbook, Urso further alleged that Meyer’s complaint incorrectly states employees have the right to file civil suits if they are wrongfully accused.

Council President Tammy Meyer and Council Member Steve Thorn said they could not comment on an ongoing investigation. Mantua Mayor Linda Clark also declined comment.

Investigator DePiero said he had seen Urso’s letter but could not offer a comment. 

Urso has previously told The Portager that no one in the police department would comment on council’s allegations.

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Wendy DiAlesandro is a former Record Publishing Co. reporter and contributing writer for The Portager.