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MPOA requests letter that led to police chief being on leave
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The Manteca Police Officers Association has made it clear — they were not the source of a 5-page document that triggered a decision Wednesday to place Police Chief Jodie Estarziau on paid administrative leave.

The document references a grievance filed by the MPOA regarding uniform policy.

“(We) would like to make it clear that as a body, we did not create this document,” the MPOA board of directors indicated in a news release Friday.

The MPOA has made a public records act request to obtain the document from the city.

The document includes several personnel related issues including the chief’s refusal to respond to a MPOA grievance related to the uniform policy.

In a nutshell officers contend they were told by Estarziau to purchase a specific type of uniform. Several weeks after the uniforms that cost officers hundreds of dollars were being used, officers said the chief changed the policy and required officers to buy different uniforms.

Officers receive an annual uniform allowance in July as part of their negotiated compensation. The second replacement uniforms were paid mostly out of the officers’ regular pay checks.

The document also questions spending decision by the police chief and expresses concerns about the condition of patrol cars.

“Our association is actively exhausting all efforts to research this incident (placing Estarziau on administrative leave) so we can make informed decisions as to how to proceed moving forward,” the MPOA release said “It is important to remember that we stand for fairness and equality and would like the same opportunities to be afforded to all parties involved in any type of investigation.”

While the concerns raised in the document are vetted, Estarziau was placed on paid administrative leave by Acting City Manager Miranda Lutzow. Lutzow, the city’s administrative services director, was made the acting city manager by the city council after City Manager Tim Ogden was put on administrative leave in September.

Finance Director Jeri Tejeda is also on administrative leave in response to an employee complaint. The city is using an outside investigator to look into the concerns and determine their merits.

Also on Wednesday, Public Works Director Mark Houghton was terminated.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email dwyatt@mantecabulletin.com