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Wrong to spend $3,500 on party for chief
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Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
It was with great shock that I read the article on the front page of the Jan. 5, 2010 edition of the Manteca Bulletin headlined “Lathrop spending $3,500 on reception for chief.” I whole heartedly agree with Mr. Santos who voiced his opinion albeit, according to your article, was “too late” as the item had already been voted upon and approved in the “consent calendar.”

I have no issue whatsoever with an “appreciation dinner” for retiring Lieutenant Dolores Delgado. Further, I’m certain she deserves such and then some!

Now, let me tell how such celebrations are typically handled – and never at taxpayer expense. Those who chose to recognize their appreciation for a retired co-worker or supervisor or whomever simply compose a committee, select a host reception location, restaurant or whatever, send out announcements, set a price along with typically 3 items to select from a published menu and include in the price sufficient monies to cover the purchase of a retirement gift. Such practice is done with regularity.

Think I don’t know what I’m talking about? I’m a retired Division Commander from Alameda County Sheriff’s Department (June 1990.) The above process is exactly how my “appreciation dinner and gift” was handled Perhaps you think “well that was 19 years ago and things are different now.” Well yes things are different, somewhat, in that money is tight today, however, I still to this very day consistently receive invitations from my “old outfit” to come and help celebrate the retirement of one of my old co-workers via the exact same system as I’ve described. I’m asked to purchase a ticket.

To put even more emphasis on the practice which I described, that is precisely what we did not only for Division Commanders like me (I was number three in command of an approximate 1,800 person organization at the time with oversight of the entire Criminal Division - primarily street operations, not unlike Lt. Dolores Delgado) but also for retiring Sheriffs - yes the elected Sheriff at the time. We never used taxpayer monies for such partying.

As I think about the City of Lathrop’s approval to spend $3,500 of taxpayer money on this appreciation party I can’t help but wonder if perhaps it just might be misappropriation of public funds. Oh well, let the legal beagles figure that one out.
Dave Bricknell
Jan. 5, 2010