And Then There Was One

Rybak picks a reformer for the MPD

State Representative Neva Walker, who is black and has a significant constituency of minorities, gives McManus the nod over Charles Moose, a black candidate who was head of the Montgomery County department in Maryland during the D.C.-area sniper hunt a year ago. St. Paul Police Chief William Finney, also an African American, stood with McManus and Rybak at the press conference. Longtime civil rights activist Ron Edwards also backs the choice.

Practically every news account of McManus has noted that his wife Lourdes is Latina, and that the family speaks Spanish at home. (They have two children, ages four and two, and another on the way.) For all of this, McManus earns points on the diversity scorecard.

But Chief McManus is hardly a forgone conclusion. Though six council members stood behind the mayor and his candidate at the press conference, seven of thirteen votes are needed to seal the deal. During the search, many council members started to favor the two internal candidates, deputy chiefs Lucy Gerold and Sharon Lubinski. The selection of McManus could go before the full City Council as early as January 16. "It will be interesting," Edwards observes, "to see how the council plays minority issues in this."

Minority support: William McManus draws high marks in communities of color, but awaits confirmation by a split City Council
Craig Lassig
Minority support: William McManus draws high marks in communities of color, but awaits confirmation by a split City Council

Council Vice President Robert Lilligren currently counts himself opposed to McManus. "We have these internal candidates, and we put all of this money and time and resources into cultivating them, and then we say they're not good enough," Lilligren says. "I'm told that either could be a chief elsewhere, so now we're talking about losing two good cops."

Delmonico says he never did connect with McManus on Saturday, but that he's talked with the potential chief since then. Still, he holds out hope for Gerold or Lubinski, insisting that any change in the MPD would better come from someone on the inside. Even so, Delmonico says, he won't be politicking against McManus. "The council knows how I feel," he says. "This fight is between the mayor and the council, and I'm staying out of it."

At the same time, Delmonico concedes that McManus is the one candidate most likely to rattle the police union. "The mayor saw a chance to distance himself from the federation," Delmonico says. "And he's done it."

« Previous Page