DENVER (CBS4) – Denver’s new police chief is a shoe-in. On Tuesday, in an unprecedented act the city council approved the hire unanimously, without debate.
Chief Robert White starts next month. The city council talked about what his compensation package consists of. White serves at the will of the mayor, so his end-date is dictated by Mayor Michael Hancock, not his contract.
White’s will make about $162,000, the same as current Chief Gerry Whitman. He will receive a bonus of nearly $6,000 his first year for having 40 years experience. The contract allows a maximum of $15,000 for relocation and temporary housing.
White will start Dec. 12, although that could be moved up a week.
White couldn’t make Tuesday’s safety committee meeting and neither could several council members — only three showed up to approve the contract. The police union also wasn’t at the meeting but has raised questions about whether White is the best hire.
The mayor’s office says its vetting process included hiring a private investigator to look into White’s background.
Denver’s new Manager of Safety Alex Martinez took the union to task, saying he called White to apologize for what some union members have been saying.
“I think there’s a number of people who are spreading information that’s proven to be incorrect and that embarrasses me that a mayoral appointment is welcomed in this way,” Martinez said.
“The No. 1 support I use to gauge this situation is public support, and from the public meeting I was able to attend to meeting with Chief and Mayor and city council, I do see that support,” councilman Paul Lopez said.
Lopez says the union hasn’t brought any concerns to him.
It’s the first time Denver has put its police chief under contract. It’s the result of a change in the city charter 8 years ago after Whitman had already been promoted.
Whitman is staying with the department. He goes back to the rank of police captain.