In certain quarters of the city, there is controversy over whether City Manager Bill Cooper can also hold the position of “acting” police chief.
Our reading of the City Charter tells us that nothing seems to prohibit this move on Cooper’s part. But the unions representing police officers and their bosses take a different view of the matter and insist there are charter violations.
Cooper also points out that the charter assigns him the duty of being the city’s chief enforcer of ordinances, pretty much making him the top guy in charge of the city’s laws.
It looks like it will be a matter for the attorneys to sort out.
The position of chief is open because former Chief Mark Kalinowski retired.
Why would Cooper risk antagonizing the department? He says he had recently become aware of a few issues and incidents in the department and took advantage of the open position to delve first-hand into them.
He has declined to say what exactly he is concerned about in the department.
His self-appointment certainly can’t be interpreted as a vote of confidence for the three lieutenants in line for the job.
Cooper’s wearing of two hats, as city manager and police chief, is a heavy load of work. If he has an eye toward some kind of reform in the Police Department, it would be better if those reforms come quickly.