The lawsuit appears to be based on m mostly "he said , she said" allegations in which Horvath claims that as retaliation for him pursuing allegations against former Lt Brooks, Rovella essentially eliminated his position as Assistant Chief. Horvath claims that Rovella's actions were as retaliation due in part to Rovella's friendship and support of Brooks. Rovella promoted Brooks to the position of Deputy Chief recently along with four others. Rovella's promotions elevated 3 minority members into the previous exclusively white male Command Staff.
The timeline doesn't seem to add up for Horvath though. He states in the complaint that on or about September 10, 2012, Rovella became permanent chief of HPD and on September 21, 2012 "constructively discharged" Horvath from his position.
The fact of the matter is that Horvath had already planned on leaving and at least a month before Rovella became Chief, on August 14, 2012, or sometime thereabouts, Horvath had accepted the position of Chief of the UMass/Amherst police Department. Realistically, Horvath must have begun to pursue that position a substantial time earlier than Rovella's appointment considering the normal length of a selection process for a Chief.
In an article on masslive.com, Horvath was quoted as saying “I pursued this position because of the team approach at UMass Amherst and the sense of pride that is evident," Horvath said in a prepared statement. "As chief, I will seek to make us stronger in both of those areas, ensure that the police department works with university stakeholders in order to maintain a safe campus environment while at the same time, building relationships that will enhance the educational experience for all students.”
The fact of the matter is that any Assistant Chief knows when accepting the position, that he serves at the will of the current Chief and can be and most likely will be out when a new administration takes over. When building a Command Staff, an incoming Chief typically looks for loyalty and support from an Assistant Chief. Horvath fell short in that area.
Chief Rovella had the luxury of serving as Commander of the Shooting Task Force for an extended period of time before becoming the permanent Chief. During that time he was able to see first hand the workings of the Command Staff at the time . Sources have told me that Assistant Chief Horvath placed numerous roadblocks in front of Rovella and the operations of the Task Force.
Although he talks of the "team approach" at Umass, that apparently wasn't the case at HPD. Sources have told me that Rovella had initially requested the attendance of Vice and Narcotics Division officers at the daily briefings that the Shooting Task Force held to compare notes and strategy. It seems to make sense that vice and Narcotics would go hand in hand with guns, but Horvath vetoed that move and would allow the two Divisions to meet.
Prior to the establishment of the Shooting Task Force , when Hartford was experiencing a large and noticeable up tick in gun violence, a request was made to Horvath to conduct an operation related to the illegal guns in Hartford. Horvath again vetoed the request, claiming no money was available. When the request was revised to conduct the operation on "comp time", it was again a loud "no", desk pounding and all.
I am not speaking for Chief Rovella, but it would seem clear to most observers that Horvath was not a supporter of Rovella's initiatives, and most likely not a good fit to move Rovella's plan forward.
The Horvath lawsuit also seems to claim that the Rudewicz Report, which was conducted after the internal squabbling between Horvath and Brooks boiled over, seemed to vindicate Horvath and the HPD Command Staff at the time. The report, which can be read below seems to spread around enough blame for poor management by all involved. In fact, the Report is widely thought to have resulted in enough pressure to force the Chief at the time, Daryl K. Roberts into retirement.
The report specifically states "However, Command Staff personnel,particularly Assistant Chief Horvath and Deputy Chief Ciesinski, do not escape scrutiny and bear some of the responsibility for the effects of the decision." to remove Lt. Brooks as the IAD Commander. Ciesinski was demoted back to Captain by Chief Rovella.recently .
Deputy Chief Brooks is currently assigned as Commander of the Central District which encompasses the Downtown and Asylum Hill areas of the City .
Also as a sidenote, and I know it is a minor matter, it is interesting to me that Horvath was so concerned about Lt. Brooks' attendance and ethics. but thinks nothing of Umass resources and time to fax page 5 of the lawsuit below back to his attorney, clearly from the Umass Police fax machine. Ethics count at all times, not just when it fits your needs.
For more on this, got to WNPR Jeff Cohen's blog.