Costa Mesa's Police Chief Quits

Costa Mesa's police chief abruptly quit Monday over city council's plan to slash workforce.

"Everybody who could get into a blue suit, worked," Steve Staveley, Police Chief, told the Costa Mesa City Council last week.

Yesterday Staveley resigned abruptly from the department.

The words in his resignation letter were direct, accusing the city council of "playing fast and loose with the law, and stepping over the line."

As interim Chief, Staveley had been told the police department would have to cut it's budget by 3.5% and force all non sworn personnel to work five days a week, eight hours a day.

Instead of signing layoff notices, he says he chose to resign.

Staveley's parting shot? Calling the council "unethical and immoral."

"It was probably one of the more bizarre things I've ever seen in my life," says Jim Righeimer, Mayor Pro Tem.

City officials say the resignation comes as they are trying to balance a budget by outsourcing more than 200 employees.

"This city is the most transparent, up front city with everything we have, and because he's upset about us not doing what he wants to do, he kind of like throws the mud at the wall," according to Righeimer.

Union officials say an independent budget analysis shows there is enough money to stop the proposed layoffs.

Not so, say city officials who refuse to move money out of reserves.

In his letter, the former chief contends there is no fiscal crisis in Costa Mesa.

"I'm surprised that he stepped down, but to me that's a true leader. It's a true leader for the community, a true leader for his employees, for doing the right thing," according to Helen Nadel, a city employee.

The council could pass it's May pass $100 million budget as early as Tuesday night.

The union says it will go forward with a lawsuit to try to stop the layoffs.

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