Manteca’s next police chief is already serving on the force.
The city has decided against opening up the position to outside applicants.
City Manager Karen McLaughlin Tuesday said the position will be open to internal candidates for about a week. After that, the selection process will start with the goal of having a new police chief on board by mid-November.
The move to stay in-house was predicated by two key factors. First, and foremost, was the fact there are several qualified candidates who have a solid handle on the department operations. Another consideration according to several sources is money.
Retiring Police Chief Dave Bricker is the lowest paid police chief of similar-sized cities in the area. Typically when you go shopping for an outside police chief, cities expect to pay more than their current chief’s salary. An existing officer could be elevated to chief and still receive a significant pay boost without impacting the municipal budget. Even so there is still a general consensus that the department has several current employees more than capable of handling the job.
Staying in-house would also keep with the general practice over the past 25 years. Willie Weatherford for all practical purposes was an in-house candidate. He started his law enforcement career as a Manteca police officer in 1966. He worked his way up to sergeant until he accepted a position in Galt where he ultimately became police chief/city manager before being hired back as Manteca’s top cop.
Manteca went to the outside to hire Richard Gregson after Weatherford retired. Gregson departed Manteca a little over a year later. Next was Charlie Halford followed by Bricker. Both Halford and Bricker came up through the ranks.
Bricker officially retired Dec. 31, 2010. He was then brought back to run the Manteca Police Department on a contractual basis for 960 hours for the balance of the 2010-11 year that ended June 30 and then for 960 hours for the current fiscal year that started July 1.
The move locked in his retirement and saved Manteca $60,000 at the same time as they are not paying into his retirement with the Public Employees Retirement System, his health benefits, or other payroll related costs. Instead, he is being paid per hour with a maximum of 36 hours a week on the clock.
The move didn’t enhance Bricker’s retirement pay. He is limited to 960 hours a year under PERS rules without jeopardizing his retirement.
What it did do was make it possible for him to retire in 2010 before changes to the retirement rules went into effect on Jan. 1, 2011 that were detrimental to his personal finances.
There is also a solid chance that the next police chief will be able to hire back some of the remaining 12 officers that still haven’t found law enforcement jobs after being laid off in October 2009 due to budget concerns.
That’s because a number of officers are opting for retirement due to changes in the level of health care that will be covered for those who retire after Dec. 31, 2011.
The department has 58 sworn officers. That number was at 70 prior to the October 209 cutback.
Of the remaining officers 41 are paid from general fund receipts, 11 from the Measure M half cent public safety sales tax, two from interests collected on the public safety endowment fund set up from developer fees, and four from federal stimulus funds.
Bricker has served as a Manteca peace officer since 1979. He’s been the police chief for four years.