Oakland, CA — This afternoon, City Administrator Deanna J. Santana announced that she has appointed Howard A. Jordan as Interim Chief of Police of the Oakland Police Department, effective immediately. This appointment comes with all authority, responsibility, and accountability of the Chief of Police.Then, the next paragraph reads like this:
"After a thoughtful evaluation, I have determined that it is in the best interest of the Department and the City to stabilize the Department, provide leadership for the workforce, provide clarity to the community, and ensure that transition time is minimized to focus on the City’s obligations of the Negotiated Settlement Agreement (NSA) under the Federal Court,” Ms. Santana stated. “I am specifically mindful that this organization needs to achieve significant progress towards full compliance with the NSA by January 2012. For these reasons, I have immediately vested Chief Jordan with the full authority he needs to effectively lead the Police Department."The first time Mayor Quan's name is used at all is in the fourth paragraph of the advisory, when Jean says she's known Interim Chief Jordan for 20 years, and adds kind words about his relationship with the community. Other than that, the letter is Santana's show. Deanna explains that she selected Jordan because of his demonstrated "ability to navigate large organizations with multiple stakeholders where input is sought after, valued, and considered in the decision-making process," which, considering recent events, can be interpreted as a slam against Chief Batts. Again, for the second in three days, not a good show overall. None of this is intended to shoot the messenger, Ms. Boyd, who does a great job under the circumstances, but it's clear Mayor Quan and Ms. Santana need to review their public relations playbook, and make a lot of changes to it. The current version's making Mayor Quan look weak and not showing the "community leadership" the Oakland City Charter calls for. While Ms. Santana is, without a doubt, a good administrator, she didn't run for Mayor. The matter of the resignation and the selection of Oakland's Chief of Police must at least appear to be driven by the Mayor of Oakland, regardless of City Charter details. That's what Oaklanders expect, and that's what Oaklanders should get. Stay tuned.