Public employees are held to a higher standard of conduct because of the public trust in government. The City, as an employer, may establish work rules that must be job-related and may also utilize a disciplinary system to enforce rules. On a related matter, there is a public policy responsibility to investigate failure to comply with work rules. The City has a duty to take responsible steps to assure that jobs are performed appropriately.
Accordingly, public personnel must answer questions directly related to the performance of their official duties. This includes off-duty conduct that is within the scope of their employment or violates local acceptable standards. Prior to the actual interview, employees will be informed whether the investigation is administrative or criminal in nature. Employees may not refuse to cooperate in an administrative interview; failure to comply in this setting may result in disciplinary action.
A benefit to an internal investigation is a certain amount of protection in outside inquiries--that is, an official department decision is on record. This "freezes" the testimony of witnesses who may pursue other avenues in civil and federal court.