Costa Mesa Interim Police Chief Resigns With Angry Memo


COSTA MESA (AP) — Costa Mesa’s interim police chief has resigned over the city’s plan to reduce police staffing levels.

Chief Steve Staveley sent a four-page memo Monday announcing his resignation and calling the Costa Mesa City Council’s plan “foolhardy.”

Staveley accuses a majority of the City Council of meddling with officers scheduling and creating a budget crisis to serve their own political goals.

In March, the council ordered pink slips for about half of city employees to cut pension costs. Staveley says he was asked to cut the number of police officers from 139 to 131.

“What they are doing is not fiscal conservatism, it is destruction of an institution,” Staveley said. “It takes five years and millions of dollars to train that many police officers.

That’s not fiscally responsible. It’s just stupid.”

He said council members have lied about budget gaps to create the appearance of a fiscal crisis “in order to appear as the white knight to a narrow band of political followers.”

“I think the letter is probably the most unprofessional thing I’ve seen in 30 years of business,” City Councilman Jim Righeimer said. “His reaction to the council asking for a 3 1/2 percent budget cut and a request that non-sworn staff work five days a week, 8-hour days, his reaction to that is bizarre.”

In a statement, Costa Mesa Chief Executive Officer Tom Hatch said he is “shocked and saddened by the unprofessional letter.”

He said he has hired former La Habra Police Chief Dennis Kies as interim chief and expects to hire a permanent chief within the next couple of weeks.

City Councilwoman Wendy Leece said she hopes the resignation will give her colleagues pause.

“The majority is trying to accomplish pension reform in a broad manner, rather than take it one step at a time as other cities are doing. These cuts aren’t necessary and it’s causing a lot of division in our city,” she said. “We have to do it in a planned, measured, well-thought out way, and involve the residents.”

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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  • Lisa

    “the city invests time and money training officers”…LOL…every employer invests time and money to train…stupid moron! It doesn’t take much training to learn how to give speeding tickets, run plates numbers all day in their air conditioned patrol cars or arresting prostitutes. I should know, my ex-boyfriend was an LAPD officer and most officers do not care about the community…only their pay check.

    • TONY F

      Based on Lisa’s ignorant comment, its easy to see why she is the “EX”……….

      • john chen

        yes.. wow she wont let it go huh..

      • wgaf

        You and the ch!nk need to try and grow a pair.

    • silly2

      Wow! A woman scorned who now hates ALL officers. Who comes to the scenes of crimes in your area?

  • lho

    give me the job, i will work for $1.00

  • Grnguy

    Tony f its not her ignorance….its her weight why shes an ex…

  • Alan Hart

    With his resignation, the city only has to fire seven more thugs. City police are only window dressing. They are only good for collecting money for the city with tickets. They won’t be missed!

  • Ron

    Keep uo the great work Costa Mesa, eliminate ALL UNION JOBS !!!!

    Nice to see that we actually have a city in Orange County, that has the NERVE and CONVICTION to stand up to the BLOODSUCKING unions and put the people and BUDGET first.

    Take note ALL other cities, it CAN be DONE. Grow a PAIR.

  • ronnie

    What people are you talking about the 200 who lost there jobs? What the ex-chief has done is called a spade a spade. Maybe there needs to be an investigation similar to that of bell county to make sure we out corrupt city council members?

    • Ron


      The ONLY out we need in Costa Mesa and ALL city governments, are the corrupt, monopolistic UNIONS.

      That is what THEY are trying to accomplish, in Costa Mesa. It is a BOLD and GOOD move.

  • upyours

    Does this mean that the whiny overpaid incompetent a$$wipe pu$$y won’t be spiking his pension?

  • Just Saying

    Hmm .. What makes me think is both were FORMER Chiefs at LHPD. Stavely than Kies … All I’m saying.

  • hjohn

    He didn’t resign. He retired. He will live very nice on his bloated pension. More then likely will take his CA pension money and move out of state. Calif is a cash cow. Crazy.

    • Ron

      For public pensioners and illegals.

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