H-SANTA MARIA

Feb 28, 2012 2:41 AM by Ariel Wesler

City councilman and police chief react to "no confidence" vote

Just three days after the majority of the Santa Maria police union members said they do not have confidence in Police Chief Danny Macagni, the chief gives his response.

On Friday, the voting results were released. 93 members of the Police Officers Association returned their ballots. Of those, 85 percent entered votes of "no confidence." There are 119 total members who received ballots.

Councilmembers, including the mayor have been remarkably quiet for such a high-profile issue.

Some of them have said they are waiting for the investigations to wrap up before they speak publicly, but one city leader is ready to break the silence.

City councilman and Mayoral Candidate Mike Cordero says he finds the recent 85 percent "no confidence" vote alarming.

Ariel: "Is this a sign for you that the chief needs to go?

"As I said, it's not a matter for me as to who stays or who goes. It's a business decision on how quickly can we get to the resolution and the restoration of confidence, not only in the department, but in the community," Cordero said.

A community Cordero says has approached him more frequently because of his background as a former Santa Maria police officer.

"I'm probably getting 10 to 1 in favor of acquiring another chief," he said.

But Chief Danny Macagni says he's not losing sleep over the vote.

"Yeah, I'm concerned about how my people feel, but I'm not here to win a popularity contest," Macagni said. "They don't like the way I run this operation, well, ok, thanks for your opinion. You're entitled to that. Now, get back to work."

Macagni says the union is using the most recent shooting as a power play. He says union members would like to approve all policies and procedures.

"They don't run this organization. I do," he said.

While Cordero has full faith officers will continue to serve and protect, he worries this level of dissent will eventually take its toll.

"When you have a negative influence by 85 percent, that can't help but have an overall negative effect of the overall performance of the organization," Cordero said.

Tuesday marks one month since Officer Albert Covarrubias Jr. was shot and killed.

KSBY was unable to reach Councilmember and Mayoral Candidate Alice Patino or City Manager Rick Haydon Monday. However, Haydon told me KSBY on Friday he has full confidence in Chief Macagni.

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