Long Beach’s long-time acting police commissioner, Thomas Sofield Senior (father of defeated City Council President Thomas Sofield Junior) has announced that he will resign from his post Novemeber 29th. (Staying for the turkey but then out)
Immediately though, the debate is not necessarily about who will replace him, but instead if he’s going to receive a golden parachute. Now, people are throwing around that term but I’m not convinced most have any idea what that means. In brief a golden parachute is a big bucket of money given when someone resigns/retires/quites/is fired by their friends who remain in power. You’ll often hear it in reference to disgraced Wall Street CEOs when they get millions upon resigning after running their companies into the ground.
The speculation in this case relates to the fact that the acting police commissioner’s Sofield Senior’s son is the City Council President for another month-and-a-half. City Manager Theofan, who is already on the short list to be replaced come January 1, has denied speculation and said, “All he’s going to get is … his accumulated vacation time and a portion of his sick time that he’s entitled to.”
Take a look at the rest of the Herald’s article which has a great rundown on the transition.
So that settles that. The next question becomes who will replace him, and whether they will serve in a “permanent” or “acting” capacity. This will be one of the new administration’s first tests of their promised transparency, and their promises to resist appointing friends and family to high-level posts.
These positions must be filled based on merit. Long Beach needs strong, qualified leaders at the top of all City Departments, and of course, they may coincidentally be friends and family. Hey, this town only has 33k people and there’s going to be some overlap of social circles, but what must come first is merit and transparency in the appointment process. We don’t want this City to continue its decades-long spoil system that has been the hallmark of post-election politics. I’ll be sure to update as the transition continues.