Photo by Saneboy, via Flickr: http://bit.ly/dQYoN7 (CC license)
Can Oakland Police Chief Anthony Batts break his contract with the city to take the top cop position in San Jose?
Looks like it. Batts' employment contract does not appear to penalize him if he chooses to step down before it expires in 2012.
There are eight sub-sections in the three-page Batts contract. Those sections address specific topics, including the police chief's role, his salary and benefits. However, there is no section on what would happen if Batts walks away. The contract doesn't even address how much notice the city would require if Batts quits before Oct. 19, 2012.
Even if Batts doesn't get the police chief position in San Jose, it's clear he's ready to leave Oakland. Batts has publicly said that he's disappointed that the city cut 80 police officers due to Oakland's budget problems. On Monday, Quan said that she will conduct a national search if Batts leaves; it is she who will appoint any new chief.
San Jose is expected to make a decision in mid-February.
There's some speculation that if Batts leaves, Assistant Police Chief Howard Jordan will likely be appointed, at least temporarily, by Quan. If Jordan is selected as a fill-in, he will be walking a familiar beat. Jordan was interim chief for nearly a year after Wayne Tucker retired. Batts was ultimately chosen as police chief by former Mayor Ron Dellums.
In any case, whatever happens, Oakland is about to have an interesting year in public safety.
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|A Batts Employment Agreement.pdf||141.16 KB|