ROMA — In a split vote, the city council agreed to launch an investigation into the conduct of the city manager and their police chief following criticism from several police officers against the two men.
Council member Joel Hinojosa Jr. made the motion to move forward with the probe that he said would entail meeting with police officers to get more of their feedback. Council members Jose G. Cantu and Gilberto Ramirez voted in favor of it while Mayor Roberto A. Salinas and council member Clyde Guerra voted against it.
The vote on the matter came after the city council spoke to both City Manager Crisanto Salinas and Police Chief Jose H. Garcia behind closed doors during the city council meeting held Wednesday evening.
The issue was prompted by a letter the council received from Roma police officers in which the officers heavily criticized the police chief and city manager.
Their grievances largely dealt with the current conditions of the department which they allege the chief and the city manager declined to address. Those issues included the conditions of the police unit, lack of a pay scale and lack of “adequate” firearms training.
Hinojosa said the council hoped to get Salinas’ and Garcia’s side of the story on Wednesday but, after doing so, said he felt it was necessary to look into the issue further.
“The police officers handle our safety in the city so they’re one of the most important departments in the city,” Hinojosa said. “We’re going to try our best to work with our budget to try to get as much help as we can to them.”
Because they are seeking to speak with the entire police department, Hinojosa estimated that the investigation would likely take more than 30 days to complete.
Salinas, the Roma mayor, said he believed an investigation was unnecessary and said that was why he voted against it.
“We had already reached an understanding with the chief of police and the city manager,” Salinas said, “that they would allow the city council to continue inquiring into the letter and they would allow the city council to assist the police department in resolving some of the issues the police officers have.”
“So I didn’t think it was necessary to approve that item,” he said.
Now that the city will officially move forward with the investigation, Salinas, the city manager, said he’s not worried about a negative outcome.
“Negative for none of us,” he said. “We’re here to make sure the department works properly.
“We want (it) to be win-win,” he added. “As long as we have the resources.”