Monday, January 11, 2010
The chief is out, the interim chief is out, and now the retired chief is in.
That's the head-turning sequence of events at Seaside Police Department, where ongoing personnel issues have rearranged the power structure over the past five months. Former chief Steve Cercone ended his tenure Jan. 1, after settling with the city. Three days later, Interim Executive Officer Stephen Willis was given his walking papers, as the Weekly reported Jan. 7.
On Jan. 8, city officials confirmed rumors that retired SSPD chief Tony Sollecito will return as interim chief while the city recruits a permanent chief. (Officials had previously declined to comment on the issue.)
Sollecito, who served as SSPD chief from 2001 to 2006 and interim chief in the first half of 2007, re-joins the department Jan. 19, after completing background and medical checks as required by the state Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission. (After drawing fire for failing to put Willis through the background process, the city appears to have learned from its mistake.)
Politically, the move may be City Manager Ray Corpuz's attempt to make nice with the Seaside Police Officers Association, which took a vote of no confidence in him in November. Sollecito is seen as an ally of Cercone's, and his appointment as interim may appease those officers (and vocal members of the public) who had been pushing for Cercone's reinstatement.