Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Costa Mesa: Costa Mesa police chief steps down; calls City Council majority 'unethical and immoral' - latimes.com

Costa Mesa: Costa Mesa police chief steps down; calls City Council majority 'unethical and immoral' - latimes.com

Costa Mesa's police chief resigned abruptly Monday, leaving behind a blistering four-page memo that calls the City Council majority "unethical and immoral" and accuses them of manufacturing a fiscal crisis in order to slash the city's workforce by nearly half.

By day's end, Costa Mesa City Manager Tom Hatch announced he had already hired a replacement for Chief Steve Staveley and angrily condemned the departing chief's memo as "unprofessional" and "potentially libelous."

Staveley's departure marks a significant ratcheting up of tensions at City Hall, where municipal leaders have pledged to cut payroll and pension costs by laying off workers and contracting out municipal services. The city's hard-line approach has drawn national attention and is being watched by political and labor interests throughout the state. "Tea party" conservatives have called Costa Mesa "ground zero" for similar action in other cities.

"They have pushed finance and the budget process around to get the kind of numbers that benefit their position," Staveley wrote. "They have, in essence, lied as they create the appearance of crisis in order to appear as the white knight to a narrow band of political followers."

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