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Ex-fire chief apologizes for Snyder remarks

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POSTED October 27, 2009 4:09 a.m.

LATHROP – Former Lathrop-Manteca Fire Chief Jerry Sims has publicly apologized for comments he made about former Manteca city councilman Jack Snyder during a recent Lathrop City Council meeting.

“I apologize for being carried away the last time. I have nothing against Mr. Snyder. None of our situation is Jack Snyder’s fault,” said Sims who offered his profuse apologies during the citizen’s forum portion of the last council meeting.

Sims not only apologized but also heaped praises on the dean of Manteca councilmen who ended his decades’ long public service to the Family City not too long ago.

Sims said Snyder “devoted his time not only in an elected office but also as a dedicated volunteer.”

In addition to serving on the Manteca city council, the former longtime employee of the then-Libbey-Owens-Ford glass plant in Lathrop also has been a longtime Seniors Helping Area Residents and Police volunteer. The Seniors Helping Area Residents and Police is an arm of the Manteca Police Department.

“The Jack Snyder that I remember is a gentleman,” Sims said, adding he personally witnessed at one time during a residential fire how Snyder helped carry the injured to be taken to area hospitals.

Snyder could not be reached for comment. Phone messages at his home were not immediately returned.

Sims’ comment in which he invoked Snyder’s name happened at the first Lathrop council meeting in October during the discussion on the possibility of finding alternatives to providing police services to Lathrop residents. The city, since incorporation in July 1989, has contracted its police services with the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Department. The contract is reviewed and renewed every few years.

Manteca was mentioned during the discussion and public comments because one of the three options presented by staff to council as alternatives to contracting with the Sheriff’s Office is to share police services with neighboring cities, Manteca being one of them. During the comments, it was brought up that when Lathrop was incorporated, Manteca made an offer to help with Lathrop policing but that Lathrop turned down the offer.

Instead, the Lathrop leaders at that time signed a contract with the Sheriff’s Department. That initial contract was $800,000 a year. The 2009-10 fiscal year police budget is nearly $5 million.

In the comment about Snyder that he apologized for, Sims went back to the Lathrop’s time of incorporation “when Snyder wanted to annex everything” in Lathrop.

“Let’s dis-incorporate and give it (the city) to him,” Sims commented.

To contact Rose Albano Risso, e-mail ralbanorisso@mantecabulletin.com or call (209) 249-3536.

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