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Lathrop spending $3,500 on reception for chief

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POSTED January 5, 2010 3:57 a.m.

LATHROP – Lathrop resident and businessman J. Chaka Santos adamantly opposed the city’s plan to hold a $3,500 catered appreciation event for up to 200 people at the Community Center in honor of outgoing Chief of Police Dolores Delgado.

His strong comments during Monday night’s council meeting, however, were a vote too late. He spoke after the item, which was part of the consent calendar, was already approved by the council 4-0 with Vice Mayor Martha Salcedo absent.

Mayor Kristy Sayles noted before allowing Santos to speak that the council had already voted on the item earlier in the meeting.

Items on the consent calendar are approved in toto unless a member of the council or the audience requests an item to be pulled out for further discussion prior to approval.

“I think if you spend money, spend it for all the people. I haven’t seen Chief Delgado in a while. I don’t see her here (at the council meeting).

What has she done here? If you’re going to do it (spend money), do it for the community,” Santos said, explaining his opposition to the catered celebration.

Santos suggested that instead of spending the money for the reception, the city should “do it as an introductory session, introduce the community to the fire department and police department,” for instance.

The purpose of the event is for the city “to express its appreciation to outgoing Chief of Police Dolores Delgado for her years of service and countless contributions to the well-being of our community,” stated the staff report in recommending approval of the resolution which will give the green light for the transfer of money from one account to another.

The approved resolution will allow the transfer of $3,500 from the city manager’s contingency funds into the City Council Awards account. Any remaining unspent money after the event will be moved back to the City Manager’s account.

The reception will be held at the next city council meeting this month.

Delgado has been Lathrop’s police chief since 2005. She is only the second female to hold that post in the city. The first to occupy the helm was former chief Barbara Moffit who is now retired.

A 24-year veteran of the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office, Delgado holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from the University of the Pacific in Stockton and the University of San Francisco, respectively.

In September of 2008, Delgado was honored by the California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce as the state’s highest-ranking Latina in law enforcement who is not a political appointee.

Not long after that, she earned even more accolades when she received the Mayor’s Award of Distinction from the city. The award was presented by Mayor Kristy Sayles during a council meeting. A reception in the City Hall lobby preceded that evening’s award presentation. Among those attending the event were San Joaquin County Sheriff Steve Moore, Lathrop’s first police Chief Stan Hein who has since retired from the Sheriff’s Department, former mayors Steve McKee and Gloryanna Rhodes and other local dignitaries.

“She’s very popular. She may be the most award-winning officer in the Sheriff’s Office – (for) achievement awards,” noted former Lathrop public information officer Mike Esau, a former Sheriff’s Department colleague of Delgado, last year while announcing the prestigious state award for Delgado.

City Manager Cary Keaten is already in the process of interviewing candidates from the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office for the post that will be vacated by Delgado who is moving back to the Sheriff’s Department to take on another capacity. She holds the rank of captain in the department.

The new police chief is expected to be officially on the job in the middle of this month, when Delgado returns to the Sheriff’s Department.

Lathrop contracts its police services with the county Sheriff’s Office. The current contract between the two agencies runs from 2005 to 2010.

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