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Citizens input is being sought on what qualities & strengths they want Manteca’s next top cop to have
This July 2018 photo shows then Manteca Police Chief Jodie Estarziau presents retiring Captain Tony Souza with a glass award plaque for his 27 years of service.

Former Police Chief Jodie Estarziau will receive a payment of $675,000 to settle her claim against the City of Manteca.

Estarziau was placed on paid administrative leave on Nov. 13, 2019 after the city received an anonymous letter. The city initiated an investigation which resulted in no findings of misconduct or policy violations on Estarziau’s part.

Subsequently, the City separated Estarziau’s employment due to incompatibility of management styles. Estarziau filed claims against the City, alleging that the City’s action in separating her from employment in August violated her rights. On Tuesday, Estarziau’s claims against the City were resolved to the satisfaction of all parties leading to a unanimous City Council vote to accept the $675,000 settlement.

Of the $675,000, the risk management group the City of Manteca belongs to will pay $350,000. The remaining $325,000 will come from the city’s general fund. The city is not paying any of the legal costs Estarziau incurred.

The city’s outside legal expenses will come to less than $50,000. While a final accounting of those legal costs has yet to be compiled, the city’s insurance coverage for such legal cost carries a $50,000 deductiable.

The settlement also calls for Estarziau to be issued a former police identification card. That will allow her to receive her badge that she plans to have incorporated into a box display. She also will receive various documents that were part of her tenure as Manteca’s police chief.

Last week City Manager Miranda Lutzow indicated community forums will be conducted to obtain input from city residents on the issues they deem the most pressing for law enforcement in Manteca in order for the city to determine the skill sets and strengths they will be seeking in the search for Manteca’s next police chief.

It is the first time that Manteca has even made such an outreach effort part of the hiring process of a police chief. The position of police chief is arguably the most high profile in municipal government given how police interact with the community.

There will be citizens on a review board of the final candidates as there has been in the past.

Retired Modesto Police Chief Mike Harden will continue to serve as Manteca’s interim police chief until a replacement is found. He’s been handling the job since August,


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email