Long Beach Acting Police Commish Out

(What a commish may look like)

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.

14 Replies to “Long Beach Acting Police Commish Out”

  1. About time! How long was he “acting”? I’d still like the new council to look into his qualifications and if there is any limit on how long you can be “acting”. My suspicion is that he could not become “permanent” because he did not have the experience/certifications necessary.

  2. The article states…

    “It’s official,” City Manager Charles Theofan said of Sofield’s move. “I was just as surprised as anyone; I didn’t know what he would do. But why stick around? He would have to go back to being a lieutenant.”

    Don’t we have Captains and Inspectors in LB… wouldn’t they have been more qualified than a Lt.?

  3. EXACTLY! So, his son promoted him effectively to “acting” Police Commissioner while he was “just” a lieutenant. Probably so they could get away with it legally…

  4. When you work in a political cesspool like Long Beach you have to protect your ass. Most Police Commisioners chose to stay acting so that they retain their union protection and can fall back to their former rank of Lt. Without this protection they would loose their job when an new administration comes in power. Commisioner Sofield was the Comm under the first coalition city council. When the Dems regained control he was put back in uniform as a Lt. and given the most menial job possible as a Lt for the duration or their term. I guess he learned from that experience that he had to protect himself. When the coalition took control and renamed him Comm. The acting is just a technical term he was in fact the Commisioner!
    Now about his lack of qualifications and experience!! After graduatiing from Villanova University Tom Sofield joined the US Air Force and earned the rank of Lt. After attending flight school he became a pilot and was deployed to Viet Nam where he flew missions for over a year. Upon his return he was tapped to become a member of the Elite Strategic Air Command where he achieved the rank of Capt. He was the designated Wing Commander for his unit and was responsible for the lives of his crew. Despite offers by the Air Force to be advanced to the rank of Major Tom came home to Long Beach where he and both his parents were born. After graduating #1 in the Police Academy class he was assigned as a patrolman in LB. As he rose throught the ranks of the LBPD as Sgt and Lt he led the Detective Div.
    Feel like an A-hole yet?
    Now what is the upcoming administration going to do to top this. Oh yeah the are considering putting LT Tangey in as Commisioner. He has a high school dipolma(I think)and a solid record of mismanagment in every position he has held in the PD. Lets see this will be one of thier first moves I hope its a good one.
    Just because you didn’t vote for Tom jr you shouldn’t paint Tom sr as a hack or anything but the best, most prepared highly qualified Commisioner this City ever had.

  5. Let’s not re-write history. He remained acting police commissioner when the Democrats took over in 2006. He had a run from 2004 to date.

    His legacy, as far as I’m concerned is 1,000 traffic accidents a year, year after year after year and too many traffic deaths.

  6. You are pathetic Mr. Boodman. Go back to your democratic clubhouse and talk crap but don’t do it here. If you don’t like the man that’s fine but to blame every accident that happens in the City of Long Beach is absurd. Go put up some more signs on your house and stop sending me political letters in the mail. I don’t know you and I certainly didn’t ask for your opinion to be sent to my house. You sir are the problem in Long Beach not the republicans and not the democrats. People like you are the problem.

  7. disagree LBER you might be the problem.. a follower. Mr. Boodman who I have never meet isn’t on oneside or the other. From what I can tell he calls people out on things. He was right about the stop signs! I said it too just didn’t put a sign on my house. The Republicans and Dems are the problem in LB. Independent thinkers who aren’t looking to party bosses are what we need. I received he letter too.. my thought was your right don’t vote on party lines don’t be a follower

  8. You are no doubt a relative or friend of Mr Sofield. Mr Sofield had a good run. He served his position well. Dont ruin his legacy by going in the gutter. Just saying.

  9. relax, lber! you went on a personal rampage against boodman for no reason other than he views the commish’s legacy as opposite yours. you’re taking this a little too personally, like he stepped on your dog or something. go meditate. all of you.

  10. Commissioner Sofield was a God send to our city. He was a professional and a gentleman. He served and he served well. For goodness sake, the Democrats didn’t fire him in 2006 when they won the majority. They kept him on because of the great job he was doing.

    The “new” (tongue in check) Democrats will appoint Darlene Tagney’s husband to the position as “acting” or they will put someone else in the spot and let Tagney run the show from behind closed doors. I voted for the new dems. But now Zaposn is talking about how “we ” have to hire a new city manager, and they appointed a former dem councilman do lead the transition; this is just more of the same. The more things change, the more they stay the same!

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