McKinney Mayor Brian Loughmiller and City Councilman Ray Ricchi have released statements about the reorganization of the McKinney Police Department that occurred last Friday.
On Friday, the city announced that Doug Kowalski was "no longer the Chief of the McKinney Police Department. He has been reassigned" effective Friday, according to the city's statement.
The city's statement also said that Joe Williams, who had served as Deputy City Manager with the City of McKinney since May 2011, had been named McKinney Chief of Police.
Kowalski had been a high-ranking member of the Dallas Police Department when he joined the McKinney department approximately 12 years ago. Williams formerly served as police chief in Celina, served on the police force in Frisco and has approximately two decades of law enforcement experience.
The McKinney City Council met in a closed session Monday to discuss the changes. Subsequently, Mayor Loughmiller and Councilman Ricchi released the following statements.
Mayor Loughmiller's Statement:
"Over the next several days Council members will have the opportunity to give their views individually regarding the recent events of Friday, October 5, 2012 with the reassignment of Chief Doug Kowalski. This message is not intended to express the views of the Council as a whole rather it is intended to provide the public my statement regarding the events and where I believe we are at this point.
"As I stated on Friday, October 5, 2012, the City Council was informed that the City Manager had reassigned the police chief pursuant to his authority under the city charter as city manager. The City Council was first made aware of this decision after Chief Kowalski was informed of the reassignment by the City Manager.
"Upon learning of the decision, I requested the City Manager call a special council meeting to discuss this decision as well as the decisions relative to transition of the police department that were announced by the City Manager. This meeting was convened with the City Manager the evening of October 8.
"While I did not agree with the decision made on October 5, 2012, I understand the Mayor and Council’s limitations of authority and the City Manager’s role of authority as expressed in the City Charter as it relates to personnel decisions of City Staff including Department heads.
"Addressing the issue of transition and moving forward as a community given the current status of the position, I have requested that the City Manager conduct a search for a new police chief open to all qualified applicants.
"With regard to key positions in the City under our Charter, the Charter authorizes the City Council to evaluate the City Manager, the City Attorney, and the Municipal Judge. While the City Council does not have authority related to personnel decisions over other positions, I believe that in order for us to be effective and operate in the best interests of our community, the City Council at a minimum should be given the opportunity to state opinions concerning key leadership positions on city staff that impact our community.
"I am currently evaluating charter language in the City Manager/City Council form of government that may address this issue for consideration by the City Council and City of McKinney in the future.
"Concerning Chief Kowalski, I appreciate his service and leadership to the City of McKinney. Our city has received recognition for being a safe city and a family oriented community. I thank Chief Kowalski for being instrumental in creating a safe environment despite unprecedented growth in our community over past twelve years."
Councilman Ricchi's Statement:
"I would like to address recent events at McKinney City Hall on October 5th 2012. The purpose of this message is to provide the citizens with my views as an individual City Council member; I am not speaking for the City Council.
"I am fully aware of the City of McKinney’s charter language giving the City Manager sole authority on personnel matters and personnel decisions and this message is intended to be consistent with the City of McKinney Charter.
"The City Council was presented on October 8th with the City Manager’s reasons for the action he alone took on October 5th with Chief of Police Kowalski. This was the first time any of this information was ever communicated to me in any way. After careful consideration, it is my opinion the information presented would not warrant the reassignment of Chief Kowalski.
"I understand the City Manager’s role is to evaluate employees, and while I respect that role, our job as Council Members is to evaluate the City Manager’s performance, including his exercise of judgment in the performance of his duties. I intend to completely evaluate the City Manager’s job performance and will do so with an open mind.
"I do not believe the information presented to me justifies the actions taken by City Manager Gray. Additionally, I feel that the manner in which Mr. Gray executed his decision was extremely disrespectful, unprofessional, and inconsistent with that which our citizen’s demand and city personnel deserve."