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Stiehm: Philipp won't be disciplined

Austin Mayor Tom Stiehm said Thursday that he has decided against taking action on a pending complaint against former city Police Chief Paul Philipp.

In a statement, Stiehm said that since Philipp is no longer a city employee, he isn't subject to disciplinary action by the city. Stiehm also said that even if Philipp were still a city employee, the city wouldn't discipline him over the complaint.

The city took seriously the allegation but does not think that it rises to the level of formal disciplinary action, Stiehm wrote.

"I'm the one who made the decision that no action be taken," he said. "I feel that, with the allegation that's being made, it's not something the city can discipline him for. If we did, it'd be overturned."

Stiehm, a former Austin police detective, said he couldn't specifically say what the substance of the complaint was and would not identify the person who made the allegation.


Assistant City Attorney John Beckmann said Thursday that the substance of the complaint won't be made public because Philipp wasn't disciplined.

"I've been involved with the union for years," said Stiehm, who was an Austin police officer for about 30 years before he retired in 2006. "If we did discipline him and the union filed a grievance, then we would go to mediation or arbitration, and then it would get overturned."

Stiehm would not give any insight as to why Philipp resigned.

"You'd have to ask him," Stiehm said.

City human resources director Tricia Wiechmann said the mayor's decision means that the investigation into the complaint won't continue. She said "information that came to light during the investigation" prompted the mayor to stop the process. She did not elaborate.

Philipp announced his retirement from the department on Jan. 18. He cited the complaint as his reason for making the announcement. Although he said he believed the allegations were "untrue and unfounded," he also said the allegations justified an investigation. Philipp said the existence of the allegations might weaken his ability to lead the police department.

He retired Jan. 31, ending a 31-year career with the department, including 19 years as chief of police.

The police department's two highest-ranking officers — Lt. John Mueller and Detective Brian Krueger — are managing the department's patrol and investigative divisions. A search for a new chief is in the works.

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