Special Reports

Departments can't agree on key element of meeting

Tacoma officials tried unsuccessfully to reconcile sharp differences between two city departments over whether anyone suggested taking Police Chief David Brame's gun and badge the day before he fatally shot his estranged wife and himself.

City officials have faced behind-the-scenes pressure to come to a consensus, but have been unable to do so.

According to a document obtained Thursday by The News Tribune, officials from the Human Resources and Legal departments tried to agree on a joint statement last week.

They settled on six points, but still could not agree on a statement that said, "Gun and badge were never mentioned."

Human Resources officials never recommended placing Brame on leave or demanding his gun and badge, City Attorney Robin Jenkinson insisted at a Wednesday press conference.

But top personnel managers for the city said they strongly urged putting Brame on leave, sources have told The News Tribune.

"The goal was to put out a unified message," said Chris Gleason, a city spokeswoman who helped draft the joint statement. "We don't want two departments fighting with each other.

"There are details about that (April 25) meeting people absolutely don't agree on."

Gleason said officials from both departments wanted to see if they could resolve one of the most divisive elements of the Brame case.

Human Resources director Phil Knudsen was expected to issue a statement Thursday explaining his recollection of the April 25 meeting, in which he and assistant director Mary Brown met with Jenkinson and chief assistant city attorney Elizabeth Pauli.

The April 25 meeting was convened at the request of Knudsen and Brown after a Seattle newspaper reported allegations contained in Brame's divorce papers that he choked his wife, Crystal, and held a gun to her head.

Knudsen was involved in labor negotiations Thursday and delayed his statement until today.

In a memo obtained by The News Tribune, officials agreed that:

•They met at Human Resources' request.

•They discussed the city's response to media questions about Brame's divorce.

•No action resulted from the meeting.

•Neither Jenkinson nor Knudsen anticipated what Brame would do.

•Human Resources did not make any recommendations to the city manager.

•Both departments agree to fully cooperate with the investigation.

Officials could not agree on a seventh item: "Gun and badge were never mentioned."

Brown and Knudsen declined to comment on the memo.

In today's statement, Knudsen is expected to say that he wanted to put Brame on leave.

Martha Modeen: 253-597-8646