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Riordan to Meet Directly With LAPD Personnel : Police: Mayor's memo raises concerns at City Hall by failing to include Chief Willie Williams. Riordan says the omission was a misunderstanding.

June 10, 1995|JEAN MERL | TIMES STAFF WRITER

As tensions mounted between the Riordan Administration and Police Chief Willie L. Williams, a memo announcing that the mayor will alter the usual chain of command and begin meeting directly with an array of high-ranking police officials has raised eyebrows at City Hall.

The memo, dated May 31 and signed by Assistant Chief Bayan Lewis, the LAPD director of operations, notes that "the mayor has requested biweekly briefings "with the department's staff and command officers." It spells out guidelines for the sessions, expected to last about 90 minutes, and provides a list of "suggested topics," including community-based policing, crime, traffic, newly installed technologies, staff deployment and overtime.

Williams is to be included in all the meetings, but the memo did not specifically say so, and the omission "caused a lot of jaws to drop" as it began to circulate, one City Hall insider said.

Mayor Richard Riordan said the omission "was a misunderstanding . . . it was not meant to go around the chief."

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Sunday June 11, 1995 Home Edition Metro Part B Page 3 Metro Desk 1 inches; 30 words Type of Material: Correction
LAPD memo--A headline in Saturday's editions mistakenly stated the source of a memo regarding the mayor meeting with high-ranking Los Angeles Police Department officials. The memo was authored by an LAPD official.

Riordan's press office said the mayor meets regularly with top officials and their management staffs in other city departments, and his upcoming sessions with the Police Department are part of his desire to extend the practice to all city operations. The office, however, did not provide details about any of the other department meetings.

Through a Police Department spokesman, Williams indicated that he "supports the concept" of the mayor meeting with other command officers along with himself.

Williams meets with several levels of staff members simultaneously instead of relying solely on his next in command, said the spokesman, Cmdr. Tim McBride. "It's more direct."

But some at City Hall are leery. "At the very least, you've got to wonder about the timing," said one official, noting that the memo comes as the mayor weighs how to handle his Police Commission's recent reprimand of Williams. The reprimand has heightened tensions between the chief and the Administration and led some Williams supporters to charge that the discipline is part of a mayoral campaign to get rid of the chief. The Administration has repeatedly denied this.

Councilman Marvin Braude, head of the Public Safety Committee, said he had not seen the memo but said the idea of the joint meetings "does surprise me. . . . It reflects a difference in management style."

Council members Rita Walters and Mark Ridley-Thomas, both strong supporters of the chief and outspoken Riordan critics, said they were not aware of similar meetings with other departments.

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