McManus watch: Departure is imminent

Sources yesterday were saying that Minneapolis Police Chief Bill McManus had shuffled down to San Antonio as one of the three finalists to be chief in that little Texas town. Apparently the meeting with city leaders there went well, because today sources are saying McManus got the job, and is taking it.


"It's all but official," says one City Hall observer.

There were rumors of a press conference at City Hall this afternoon, but neither the mayor's office nor MPD spokesman Ron Reier know of such an event. McManus is still in San Antonio, and speculation is now that any word will come from Texas, perhaps as early as 5 p.m. today.

The fallout for Mayor R.T. Rybak will likely be rather profound, since it will be the second time in less than three years that a chief has left on his watch. Rybak forced McManus's predecessor, Robert Olson, out the door. In the McManus case, it was the mayor's too-little, too-late efforts to get his handpicked chief reconfirmed that led to a vacancy. Finding a new chief will come with some payback.

Reviews have been mixed on McManus, but there is no doubt that he is highly regarded in some minority circles, particularly the African American community. Rybak doesn't fare well among blacks in this town, and a departure by McManus won't do much to help that.

More than that, the split between the chief and the mayor says something about Rybak's about-face on reforming the MPD. McManus was touted as someone who could clean up troubled aspects of the department; it would appear that the mayor (surprise!) isn't necessarily interested in real reform.

As for McManus, the news lends creedence to some of the grumblings about him out of the gate: Namely that he was a careerist, and was never serious about staying in Minneapolis for too long.

As for McManus's successor, early money would have to be on Assistant Chief Tim Dolan, who was a candidate before McManus came to town. Since then, Dolan has assumed much of the day-to-day operations of the department. The big strike against him in certain quarters, of course, is that Dolan would be another white male in a succession of white males who've held the job.

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