By Robert Haugh
On Tuesday, the Council will hear an update on the City Place project. That should be interesting. They’ll also consider adopting a Rain Barrel Program. That should be good.
But the real interesting item will involve Police Chief Mike Sellers who is demanding a raise — a big one.
This may be surprising because Sellers is considered to be a weak police chief by a lot of people.
A Mercury News columnist said he should step down for his weak management of the department.
Stand Up for Santa Clara said he should not get a raise for violating Measure J, the voter passed initiative that said you can’t use city general fund money on stadium operations. They blame Sellers, too, for personally misleading the public about how the NFL would use the Youth Soccer Park for the Super Bowl.
And the most significant group is his own department. In 2016, the men and women who work for Sellers voted “no confidence” in his leadership. That was a historic first for the department.
Some other not-so-good historic firsts: In 2017, the police department on Seller’s watch paid the two largest settlements for officer misconduct in Santa Clara history: $6.7 million and $1.7 million.
Given the police chief’s poor track record, we’re surprised city staff is not making an official recommendation on Sellers.
But their staff report does say that the past raises that Sellers and former City Clerk Rod Diridon, Jr. received were either illegal or improperly done. That’s because elected officials can’t be given automatic raises like a union bargaining unit without it being reported publicly.
Both Sellers and Diridon got those in the past and there was not public reporting. On top of that, they both got merit increases from City Manager Julio Fuentes. That’s against state law.
(Diridon resigned suddenly in February and voters will elect his successor in November).
City staff wants to clean up things, so that in the future these actions can’t happen. But they’re leaving Sellers’ raise up to the council.
Does Sellers really deserve more given his weak leadership of the department?