Irony in office: Once the accuser, councilman taking heat after calling for Phoenix police chief’s firing
PHOENIX — During his final press conference as Phoenix police chief, Daniel Garcia called for the city manager to investigate alleged wrongdoing by Councilman Sal DiCiccio.
Garcia claimed DiCiccio violated the Phoenix city charter by calling for his removal.
“A city council member, Sal DiCiccio, requested that I be removed from office a clear violation of the city charter and a violation of the law and I have asked the city manager to address this issue and I have asked him to do this by memorandum,” Garcia said.
Following Garcia’s termination, DiCiccio made this statement:
I have a right and a duty to speak about my concerns, especially when these concerns can affect the safety of our officers and the public. I have stated that I believe there should be change in leadership at the Phoenix Police Department.
But any personnel decision must be made by the city manager. I have never nor will I ever ask the city manager to fire him. The only thing I have asked the City Manager to do is look into these serious issues. So while I believe there should be a leadership change that decision is and will remain with the City Manager.
On Nov. 15, following the suicide of former Phoenix police officer Craig Tiger, who was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, DiCiccio took to Facebook to call for Garcia’s job.
It’s time for a leadership change at PHX PD. The question now is, are PHX leaders willing to take a “political” risk to protect others in that department. They risk their lives-does political risk even come close to what they put on the table?
The irony is the allegations leveled by Garcia mirror those leveled by DiCiccio five years ago against Councilman Michael Nowakowski.
In 2009, DiCiccio claimed Nowakowski had violated the city charter by asking the assistant city manager to fire former Police Chief Jack Harris.
“It was a false accusation,” Nowakowski said. “I think there were some misunderstandings. What I was asking is that there needs to be some type of change at the top leadership of the police department.”
It became a heated battle between the two councilmen. Nowakowski believed DiCiccio slandered him and consulted with the city attorney to see what legal options he had.
DiCiccio claimed Nowakowski’s actions were contrary to the city charter and bad for morale. Nowakowski still denies the accusations.
“I was saying, you know, it’s about time that we sit the chief down and sit the union leaders down and let them communicate face-to-face instead of using the media (to communicate),” he said.
DiCiccio later both apologized for the accusations and defended his own statements against Garcia.
“I was wrong and the information I was provided was wrong and it turned out that he (Nowakowski) was absolutely correct, that he has a First Amendment right and an obligation to give an opinion on what should be happening at city hall,” DiCiccio said.
City Manager Ed Zuercher has not said whether or not he plans to look in to DiCiccio’s statements.