Española Police Department interim chief David Osuna made his recommendation for chief in the midst of the April 23 City Council meeting. He said he had been teaching Department Deputy Chief Roger Jimenez how to make “chief’s decisions,” but Jimenez said later that he had not been recommended for the job.
The recommendation was made as an answer to a question from Councilor John Ramon Vigil at a previous meeting, Osuna said.
“Two weeks ago when I came before the council and the mayor ... one of the questions that was posed to me that day was by councilman Vigil was about the future of the chief’s position,” Osuna said.
He said that at every job he previously held, he tried to prepare the people under his command or supervision to one day take his place, and Jimenez was no exception.
“He has a lot of strengths, he’s got some weaknesses,” Osuna said. “One of the weaknesses is that he’s inexperienced.”
Osuna said the city would be hard-pressed to find someone that knows about the city, the budget, the manpower and the people.
Jimenez incorrectly told the Public Safety Committee on April 3 that there was not a single working radar unit in the city. He corrected his comments the following day.
“Take your chances on who you hire, or look at who you have and in-turn work with his strengths and work with him on the weaknesses,” Osuna said.
Councilor Peggy Sue Martinez asked Mayor Javier Sanchez if the chief’s position had been posted or advertised in any way.
Sanchez said it had not.
“I think your opinion is your opinion sir, Mr. Osuna, I respect you with everything I have but in order to know what best possible candidate is available, there’s only one way to do that and that’s posting the position,” Martinez said. “I think it’s reckless for staff to say that one person is sort of prepared for this.”
Councilors Robert Seeds and John Ricci said they believed the deputy chief position had been created for just this situation so that when a chief left, there was someone in line to take the lead in the Department.
Sanchez said during the meeting he thought city officials would be remiss not to rely on Osuna’s expertise.
“I’m privileged enough to receive the recommendation of someone I hold in high regard,” Sanchez said April 27. “I always try and listen to as many points of view as I can when making decisions.”
Asked how he felt about being recommended for the position Jimenez said he was not recommended.
“Chief Osuna did not recommend anyone for chief, including me,” Jimenez said April 26. “Please refer to the (meeting) minutes. I don’t have any more comments on the matter.”
Jimenez may not have recognized that Osuna recommended him for the job, but Sanchez said he got the message.
“The first thing (Osuna) said was that he recommends looking within the Department, to try and promote within,” Sanchez said. “He gave many positive attributes of Jimenez but also said there was much room for growth and learning. He said he felt he would make a good chief if chosen.”
Once Sanchez chooses a chief, it will be up to city council to choose whether or not to ratify their contract.
Enjoy reading the SUN online? Then you'll love the print version. This is just one of the 25 local news, opinion, arts and sports stories published in the May 2, 2019 edition. To see the rest, buy a copy from one of our vendors on the street or at one of these locations.