Ron Washington, my home city of Colosse’s most recent former mayor, was a police commissioner of Colosse and a handful of other cities before getting elected. When he was first elected in the late 90’s, I remember thinking it odd that he only had support of one of the city’s two police unions and that endorsement took a lot of behind-the-scenes work by a local state senator. The support that he did receive was tepid at best and they declined to support his re-election bid.
As it turned out, Washington was a startlingly poor mayor. When he was re-elected the only rationale his supporters could offer up was that he was too incompetent to be corrupt (which was true, though since he was term-limited out, a couple of his former aides are now in jail). I remember thinking at the time that you would think that cops would support a commissioner-candidate because his cop background would make him more likely to consider faults in the department (such as cop pay and resources) a priority. After became obvious what a bumbling fool Washington was, I figured that the union had some insight into the mayoral candidate that the rest of us lacked.
But I stumbled across something interesting the other day.
Mike Moakley is Colosse’s current commissioner and the article I ran across was on the site of a police union of Sierra City, where Moakley was chief before moving to Colosse. It was pointing out Colosse’s rising crime and how Moakley’s top priorities are not particularly aimed at correcting this problem (upping grooming requirements, cutting down on high speed chases). I found it odd that the Sierra City cop union would take up web space denouncing a former chief and not so subtly saying his new employer should push him out the door.
That got me thinking that often the people that worked under you, regardless of how well you performed, may actually be the least likely to support you once you are no longer their boss. I would be reluctant to vote for many, probably most, of the company heads I’ve worked for. You get to know them a little too well and you’ve often suffered for their mismanagement. This is probably particularly true for something like a police chief, whose job is not to support the police officers but rather the mayor.