The interim police chief of Costa Mesa, Calif., fired verbal parting shots Monday as he resigned to protest a proposal to reduce the size of the city’s Police Department, reports the city’s Daily Pilot. In an interview and in a memo widely circulated at City Hall, Chief Steve Staveley questioned the ethics, integrity and legality of some of the decisions made by the City Council majority. The city’s chief executive defended the proposals and called the resigning chief’s statements “simply libelous.”
Staveley, a retired law enforcement veteran, stepped in as the fill-in chief March 16. He was to oversee the department while the city searched for a permanent police chief, but he quit over the council’s decision to trim eight jobs from the 139-officer force. “There’s a point in time where I reached an ethical dilemma: stay and take their money and be quiet about the foolish council decision-making, or reject their money and call them on it,” Staveley said. He called councilmembers “foolhardy.” Costa Mesa is in the middle of an ideological battle with four council members who claim there is a budget crisis, and a fifth council member and employee associations saying the problems are overstated.