OAKLAND — The mayor's office made it official Thursday evening: Assistant Police Chief Howard Jordan will become acting chief when Wayne Tucker leaves his post atop the Oakland Police Department on Saturday.
Tucker announced his plans to resign Jan. 27 and Jordan's appointment was no shocker, especially after Tucker indicated his strong support for Jordan earlier this week.
Mayor Ron Dellums' office is conducting a national search for a permanent replacement, and Dellums' chief of staff, David Chai, and Tucker both said naming Jordan as acting chief will allow for a smooth transition. Jordan said he looked forward to the job, including working toward Dellums' goal of reducing crime in the city by 10 percent.
"I'm looking forward to the challenges," he said. "There are a lot of good things that are happening in the department, and I will continue working hard to make the city safe. We have a lot of officers out there who are working hard to get the job done."
Tucker's resignation came as the department was under increasing fire for a number of high-profile problems and as City Council members were moving toward a vote of no confidence in his leadership.
Tucker cited "irreconcilable differences" with the council when he decided to step down after four years on the job.
Jordan rose through the ranks of the department after joining in 1988 as a patrol officer. He became the department's first assistant chief in 2007 and handled many of its day-to-day operations as Tucker's No. 2.
"Chief Jordan is a very competent member of this organization," said Sgt. Dom Arotzarena, head of Oakland's police union. "He's been in this organization for over 20 years. He's had various assignments and I think he's very capable of running this police department."
A search for a permanent police chief is expected to take between three and four months. Jordan said Thursday it was too early to say whether he is interested in the job.
Midyear budget report
Oakland is projected to have an $8.2 million general fund deficit by the end of the fiscal year, even after the City Council took drastic measures in October to get city's finances in order, according to a recently released city report.
The projected deficit in the current fiscal year is attributable largely to overspending in the police department and will likely compound the problems the council will face this spring when it puts together a budget for the 2009-10 and 2010-11 fiscal years.
Even with some cost-cutting measures — such as asking the department to reduce overtime expenditures an additional 25 percent through June 30 — the $8.2 million hole is expected to add about $5.6 million to what already was a projected $50 million deficit for the 2009-10 fiscal year.
Councilmember Jean Quan (Montclair-Laurel), who is head of the council's finance committee, said she believes the city should be more aggressive in making immediate cuts.
"I'm not comfortable throwing another $5.6 million into next year given that we're going to have to cut $50 million," Quan said.
"I am also very doubtful that the police department is going to be able make another 25 percent cut (in overtime)."
The department has made progress in cutting back on overtime expenditures this year after last year's bill reached $25 million.
Even so, overtime expenditures and the massive staffing boost the department saw at the end of 2008 leave OPD projected to overspend by about $5.5 million.
Assistant Chief Jordan told the finance committee Tuesday that cutting overtime 25 percent would be tough — and would force the department to stop backfilling for officers who are sick, on vacation or going through mandatory training.
It could also mean cutting back on sideshow enforcement, he said.
"Twenty-five percent is very high," he said. "We could do it, but it would come with some consequences "... it is going to be difficult."
The full council is scheduled to discuss the deficit Tuesday when it meets at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 1 Frank Ogawa Plaza.
Mayor Ron Dellums is scheduled to join San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed on March 6 to sign a regional compact aimed at reducing greenhouse gases and fighting climate change in the Bay Area.
Dellums, Newsom and Reed have worked together previously on environmental issues, including taking a pledge in November to make the Bay Area the electric-car capital of the country.
The Bay Area Climate Change Compact will spell out 10 environmental goals, including promoting transportation that reduces gasoline use, reducing electricity use in buildings, increasing green job opportunities and decreasing the amount of waste that ends up in landfills.
Phil Yost, a vice president with the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, which is playing a leading role in putting the compact together, said the project has tangible goals and timelines by which to reach them.
"It's more than just, 'Gosh, we use too much gas. Gosh, we use too much water. Everybody should get on the train,' " Yost said. "These are specific goals with specific targets."
The mayors are expected to call on other Bay Area leaders to join the effort. The signing ceremony is scheduled for 2 p.m. March 6 at Silver Spring Networks in Redwood City.
For more information on the Bay Area Climate Change Compact, visit www.svlg.net.
Reach Kelly Rayburn at 510-208-6435.