White wants police chief elected, charter suspended

Ran into former City Councilman Ralph Lee White at City Hall this morning. He told me he’s got a couple of projects cooking:

• He said he’s going to ask the City Council to let voters decide whether the city clerk, city attorney and police chief should be elected officials. If the council doesn’t put that on the ballot, White said he’ll back a measure himself.

The city clerk and city attorney are both appointed by the City Council. The city manager (also appointed by the council) hires the police chief. But White argues those positions should be elected – with term limits – because that will make those officials more accountable to the public. They also won’t be able to accrue as much in retirement benefits, he argues.

• White also said he’s considering suing the city to suspend the city charter, Stockton’s governing document. This is related to White’s long-running dispute over the charter’s conflict-of-interest provisions and the Johnny Ford matter (click here to read what we last reported on that).

“The charter is our constitution,” he said. “If you’re not going to enforce it … then it needs to be suspended.”

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