Past Police Chief Mike Sellers retired a few months ago leaving in charge Assistant Chief Dan Winter.
Winter was Assistant Chief, now acting Chief, a Captain, graduate of the FBI Academy, holds a law degree, is a good manager and most likely, the obvious choice for Chief.
However, he doesn’t want to enter a slice and dice election race.
Sellers was frankly tired. His 60-hour weeks were acceptable, however, the lack of respect from the City Council majority and their failure to work with the Chief and his staff was above and beyond the call of duty.
For generations, Santa Clara police chiefs have been elected by the voters from the ranks of qualified personnel. Winter would be the most apparent choice for Chief.
However, when Mayor Lisa Gillmor couldn’t influence or direct Sellers, she ran Pat Nikolai, a police sergeant at the time against him in the last election. She threw the kitchen sink into the election along with some $65,000 she raised from developers through the Police union PAC.
Sellers still won in a photo finish by 117 votes.
While Sellers won, he lost. He lost any cooperation from the City Council majority. Frankly, they treated him like dog meat.
Protocol took a back seat. When it came time to raise salaries, the rank and file were rewarded with lavish salary and pension increases. These extravagant jumps in pay placed the Santa Clara police force as the second highest compensated in the entire state.
And what about Sellers? Oh, that’s right. He challenged the Mayor and wouldn’t buckle under to her demands. Therefore, his pay increase, which is set by the Council, was denied.
Again, for years, the Chief’s salary and compensation had followed the increases given to the unclassified miscellaneous management unit. This was called the “me too” rule. If police management were given a 5% increase, this would be extended to the Chief.
Except this Council ignored history and prior practiced procedures and raised Sellers pay a pittance.
Now Gillmor wants Lieutenant Nikolai as your Chief and her enforcer.
Graduate degree? None
FBI Academy? No
Tells the truth? When convenient.
He’s perfect as Gillmor’s hand-picked choice.
You have to wonder if Santa Clara voters have gone to sleep? They may awake soon from this Rip Van Winkle nightmare to find their City totally in the hands of charlatans.
It is guaranteed that Santa Clara voters will get exactly what they deserve.