October 16, 2020
RE: ITEM 3A, CITY COUNCIL SPECIAL MEETING, 10/17/20, 2PM. APPROVAL OF SEPARATION/RETIREMENT AGREEMENT FOR CHIEF OF POLICE
Dear Santa Monica City Council and Interim City Manager Dilg,
The abrupt retirement of Chief of Police Cynthia Renaud raises some urgent questions. It logically is taken as an admission of the Chief’s grave shortcomings. But the City Council and City Hall cannot avoid their share of responsibility for the events of May 31st and look for a single scapegoat.
The equally abrupt notice of a special Council meeting on a Saturday with minimal notice, further erodes public trust and participation.
Residents and the public at large deserve answers and transparency now. Our safety is involved. The world watched on television as our City governance collapsed. Residents and small business owners watched with even greater shock and horror. The possible lack of a plan exposed systemic weakness. Our police officers were apparently not given the leadership and planning they needed to do their jobs.
To date there has been a complete lack of transparency on the City’s failures on that day, when peaceful protestors against racism were confronted by police while criminal looters were largely left alone. We have been repeatedly told by Council members and the Chief that they won’t comment until a report has been issued and that the review process is a long one. It’s been almost five months. Residents are rightly concerned that this critical report is possibly being slowed so as not to be released before our upcoming election.
This delay and obfuscation must end. Residents have a right to know for our safety why the City was not up to the task of policing on May 31st. And we have a right to know it before the election where current Council members conduct in office is before voters. Moreover, the national election is days away which could be another flash point.
·THE CITY MUST IMMEDIATELY RELEASE THE “AFTER ACTION REPORT” ADDRESSING WHAT WENT WRONG ON MAY 31ST, A REPORT WE HAVE PAID FOR.
· THE CITY MUST RELEASE AND POST THE CITY’S CONTRACT WITH CHIEF RENAUD SO THE PUBLIC CAN REVIEW HER SEVERANCE COSTS.
·THE CITY SHOULD ALSO RELEASE ANY OTHER INFORMATION THAT FORMS THE BASIS FOR CHIEF RENAUD’S SUDDEN DEPARTURE.
· THE COUNCIL SHOULD NOT APPROVE ITEM 3A—APPROVAL OF CHIEF RENAUD’S SEPARATION/RETIREMENT AGREEMENT—UNTIL THE PUBLIC CAN REVIEW THE INFORMATION REQUESTED ABOVE. OTHERWISE THE PUBLIC LACKS IMPORTANT FACTS TO INFORM ITS RESPONSE.