Friday, June 05, 2020

If Austin Police Chief Brian Manley won't resign, he needs a new job title

In Austin, city legal staff has told City Manager Spencer Cronk that the state civil service code won't allow him to fire Chief Brian Manley, only demote him to chief of staff. This is due to Sec. 143.013(c) of the Texas Local Government Code which mandates that:
if a person is removed from the position of department head, the person shall be reinstated in the department and placed in a position with a rank not lower than that held by the person immediately before appointment as department head. The person retains all rights of seniority in the department.
The statute does not prevent firing someone brought in from the outside, but if the city promotes from within, they can only demote. Manley was chief of staff to former Chief Art Acevedo before being elevated to chief, so the City Manager is being told he could only be demoted to chief of staff, not fired. And since no new chief would want the job if they couldn't select their own leadership team, this is seen as a non-starter.

Still, Grits doesn't see this news as insurmountable, though it's being portrayed that way at city hall.

Your correspondent has been attempting to reform provisions in the Texas civil service code for more than two decades, but I must admit this was a new one to me. Considering its implications raises a few thoughts:

First, this is an excellent argument why no civil service city in Texas should ever promote a police chief from within if it means they cannot fire them. The Legislature should consider revising that provision when it meets next year.

Second, the City Manager could and should ask Chief Manley for his resignation. If he resigns, this provision becomes moot.

Third, Grits can envision more creative options besides putting Manley back as chief of staff. The statute doesn't require he get his old job back, but instead says he must be placed in a "position with a rank not lower than that held by the person immediately before appointment as department head."

So, Grits proposes that, if Manley won't resign, the city should create a new position on the organizational chart that's parallel with the chief of staff but doesn't supervise any other staff. It could have the same pay and rank but none of the power.

You could label the position something like "Asshole Who Wouldn't Resign," or, if you prefer a catchy acronym, simply "Person In Government."

Let him work from home or office him in a storage closet where they keep the toilet paper and cleaning supplies.

Yes, the city would still have to pay him, but that's the price the City Manager would have to pay for the poor management decision of hiring someone who could not be removed. It's worth mentioning that advocates have suggested city legal staff advising him on public safety issues should all be re-assigned because they routinely give bad advice. City Manager Cronk, who came here from Minneapolis, needed to know that a statute might limit his ability to fire Manley before he hired him. Their failure to tell him is another strong datapoint arguing for those lawyers to be re-assigned.

Maybe Manley would stay on under such circumstances, or, since he's fully vested and already put in more than 30 years at the department, maybe he'd just retire. In the end, Grits wouldn't particularly care. He just needs to not be Chief anymore.

18 comments:

ChingaLosPuercos said...

Put his ass on the Pager Delivery Squad.

James said...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reassignment_centers

Anonymous said...

Since they're still requiring in person sex offender registration despite COVID I think I know the perfect desk for him!

Unknown said...

It is typical that someone with this attitude would not use his real name, but hide behind this "Grits" pseudo-name. You're no better than Mr Anonymous on your thread.

Brian Manley has more character and more integrity than all of you combined. Thank goodness he cannot be fired.

Anonymous said...

Its Scott Henson of Just Liberty

Anonymous said...

“Brian Manley has more character and more integrity than all of you combined. Thank goodness he cannot be fired.“

Hi Brian Manley. It’s either you or a pal because nobody on the town hall video conference this week defended you.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

To Brian Manley's anonymous fanboy @8:56, my bio is linked in the upper right corner of the blog. I may write under a nom de plume, but I've certainly never hidden my identity. And while perhaps Manley can't be fired, he can damn sure be removed as chief. And if the city council's reaction to him yesterday is any indication, he soon will be.

Anonymous said...

Let's not overlook the benefit of "no one would be willing to be police chief."

Anonymous said...

If anyone thinks Grits is hiding they haven't seen his AWESOME shirts!

Rob said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rob said...

What a horrible time to ask The Chief to resign.. if you were making $250K would you resign? no. First I would talk to the rank and file at the police dept to see if he is liked. 2nd Do you think that just throwing him back in the pile and hiring another chief will make everything better? This city council wants to let the homeless run free and doesn't want police to be aggressive with protesters. It's unfortunate that someone got hit in the eye but accidents do happen. If you can't take the heat get out of the kitchen. Protests are not for pregnant women, underaged kids, 75yo men or people with health issues. Who would want to be chief in this town knowing that the city Council is Anti police.

Anonymous said...

Rob you are puro puerco pedo

Anonymous said...

Pigs make tasty breakfast foods

Gritsforbreakfast said...

@Rob, if Manley won't resign, I've already suggested an alternative position for him. And actually, I think it's a perfect time to replace the chief, especially under these circumstances. Anyone who takes the job will know coming in that the expectation is they will do things much differently. That may not be what you want, but judging from the outpouring at city council this week, it's what most of the community would prefer.

Gunny Thompson said...

From Unfiltered Minds of Independent Thinkers of the 3rd Grade Dropout Section:

You can't kill a dog by killing the fleas on a dog.

If you can handle the truth, well here it is: the problem is not just with Manley. The statement that only the city manager can fire him is misinformation that meant to place another false image of public official perceived untouchable status. I suggest that the city issue a directive to the city manager directing that he remove Manley, if he refuses, then he, the city manager, must be removed.

Second, the USSC has ruled that persons alleging civil service protection can be indefinitely suspended.

Third, Manley can be subjected to impeachment: Texas Constitution, Art XV, Sec 5: states that all officers against whom articles of impeachment may be preferred shall be suspended from the exercise of the duties of their office, without pay, during the pendency of such impeachment.

Unknown said...

I have been looking for this information from the city for over a week and finally some kind reddit soul posted a link to your blog. Thank you.

Unknown said...

@Gunny - I couldn't agree more. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

"That may not be what you want, but judging from the outpouring at city council this week, it's what most of the community would prefer."

You might want to find out if the "outpouring" lives (votes) in Austin. You have always ignored the fact that many of the criminals interacting with APD don't live (vote) in Austin. The same thing is true of the City Council Meeting "Citizens" Communication masses.