At last Tuesday’s Council meeting, Chico Police Officers Association (CPOA) president Peter Durfee addressed the Council regarding the $25,000 Supplemental Appropriation for the City’s labor negotiator. (Quené also addressed the item, but I want to leave that for a separate post, since my comments will differ significantly.) When we posted the meeting notice, we mentioned that Durfee had also commented on the original appropriation to hire the negotiator, saying in part that $80,000 would certainly not be enough money to complete negotiations with all nine bargaining groups and asking, what then?
So, on Tuesday, Durfee spoke again saying, “I told you so” and calling the City’s negotiator a “hired gun.” Here’s the brief video clip of his comments: Durfee_Hired Gun
Quené followed him at the podium, and after she finished speaking there was a discussion among the Councilmembers, during which Mark Sorensen opined that complaining about the City having a hired gun when the CPOA had one of its own was “beyond hypocrisy.” Here’s the video clip containing that comment: Sorensen_Beyond Hypocrisy
Newsflash: The City has three top Executive Team members, each with a six-figure salary, whose job descriptions include “labor negotiations.” The CPOA does not. Now, I’m not saying one way or another whether I agree with some of the tactics used by the safety groups during negotiations. I am saying, however, that comparing CPOA’s resources with the City’s is the height of hypocrisy.
If the City’s Executive Team does not have someone qualified to negotiate, among the half million dollars plus in salaries it pays to the three who are supposed to be doing it, perhaps the citizens should take another look at who should be filling those positions rather than dipping into the Emergency Reserve Fund (and the taxpayers’ pockets) to fund an additional six figure contract to correct the deficiency in internal talent. Just sayin’…
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Remember: Truth Matters, Chico!
Since last Friday, when we published our original post regarding Councilmember Randall Stone’s public accusations of racism and homophobia against Chico Police Officer Todd Boothe, new information has been steadily developing. We want to keep you updated, because Stone must be held accountable for his outrageous and irresponsible behavior. If the Council will not hold him accountable, then the citizens must hold the entire Council accountable at election time.
At Tuesday night’s City Council meeting, during Business from the Floor, Chico Police Officers’ Association (CPOA) President Peter Durfee and Chico citizen Stephanie Taber spoke out against Stone.
Durfee asked that Stone be removed from the Chico Police Department’s Community Advisory Board; that Stone recuse himself from any and all Council matters related to the CPOA and its members; and for a formal apology from Stone to Officer Boothe, his family, and the members of the CPOA. Perhaps his most compelling comment was, “This Association protects your streets, your families, and the City. It’s hard to protect from the front while you are getting stabbed in the back.”
Stephanie Taber echoed Durfee’s call for the Council to remove Stone from the Advisory Board and specifically identified the policy he violated when he publicly aired what was clearly a confidential personnel matter. She also said, “By taking his concerns regarding what he found on a Police Department employee’s personal Facebook page and publicly describing them as racist, he has undermined his position as a positive link between the community and the Police Department.”
We could not agree more.
After the City Council meeting, Action News Now reported that “Several issues were decided at tonight’s Chico city council meeting but it was an item not on the agenda that may have people talking. It was the first city council meeting to take place since Councilman Randall Stone publicly called out a Chico police officer accusing him of posting racist pictures on his Facebook page.”
You can read the report and watch the video here: Police Officer Association Asks Stone For Apology
On Wednesday, Action News Now reported that Stone had not attended that evening’s Chico Police Department’s Community Advisory Board meeting, due to a scheduling conflict. [I believe that, don’t you?] The report also stated that City Attorney Lori Barker is investigating Stone’s behavior to determine whether he violated policy or law by making an internal investigation public.
So, Ms. Barker will be investigating Stone, her boss, right after an unprecedented number of Closed Session “performance evaluations” over the last few months. We hope her upcoming retirement will permit her the freedom to be neutral, rather than being persuaded to look the other way, which seems to be the MO at city hall these days — It’s the new Chico way.
You can watch the entire news video here: First CPAB Meeting Since Councilmember Accuses Officer of Racism
KRCR-TV also reported on Wednesday, saying in part, “We tried contacting Stone but he referred us to city attorney Lori Barker for comment. We tried calling Barker but she declined as well saying this is an ongoing investigation.” Durfee was quoted as saying, “Where does it stop? Can we not publicly criticize our public leaders anymore? Can we not criticize the President of the United States if we don’t agree with our [sic] policy? Can we not criticize our city council people?”
Haven’t we read that somewhere before? Why, yes, yes we have! In our very own blog! This is just another instance of a strict zero-tolerance policy on criticizing the Council or Executive Team.
You can watch the entire news video here: Police Officers’ Association demands councilman’s apology
While all of that is interesting and relevant, today’s Chico Enterprise-Record article, “Flap over police post continues,” contained some astounding quotes from Stone. Here is a personal favorite of mine, because it really gets to the heart of Stone’s attitude and belief system. “The police community advisory board is just a press conference,” he said. “It’s like lunch with the chief; not that it doesn’t have value, but I don’t know what it does.”
Who is this guy, anyway? He doesn’t know what the Advisory Board does, yet he openly devalues it, and then he refuses to step down. I personally sort of hope the Chief serves up a a sh#t sandwich for Stone at his next luncheon. (Or maybe a huge crappy rock cookie would be more appropriate.)
Our advice to Stone is to step down quietly, apologize for his misbehavior, and hope the citizens will forget about this debacle before election time rolls around. He is an embarrassment to the City Council and the community. (Disclaimer: That is just my opinion… On the other hand, I do think I’m correct in my assessment, having closely observed him in action since he was elected and seated.)
Since we linked to bloggers in our last post, here are the latest posts from Mike Maloney and Chico Taxpayers Association, with very different opinions:
What’s next Randall Stone? (November 19, 2013)
Trostle needs to GO! (November 21, 2013)
Thank you for your continued readership. As always, your comments and questions are welcome.