McManus watch: Rybak's big move

Hizzoner the mayor tries to speed confirmation process

There was a press conference at City Hall today where Mayor R.T. Rybak made a public plea to the City Council to please, please, please vote to reconfirm police chief William McManus.

McManus, as you may know, has been waiting for a signal for some time from the mayor that he would be reappointed for a second term. But last week, news broke that he'd become a finalist for the chief's job in San Antonio, suddenly upping the ante in Rybak's waiting game.

The news conference was tipped off with a media advisory late yesterday, wherein Rybak issued this statement: "I strongly support Chief McManus and he has strong support on the City Council. I will nominate him for a second term and we will move forward on a process for early confirmation. I hope that McManus will choose to remain in Minneapolis once he is confirmed."

The Minneapolis Observer caught some quotes from the chief at City Hall, where he said he was "gratified" by the show of support from the mayor. But McManus hardly said he was staying put. "I want to let the process play out and see what develops," the chief told the Observer.

In a subsequent press release, Rybak set a timeline today for an unprecedented and hurried reappointment process that, by many regards, could be considered optimistic. (And a far cry from the stance the mayor was taking just weeks ago, when he said he would not be talking about reappointment any time soon.)

Rybak hopes, for instance, the council's Public Safety and Regulatory Services Committee will approve the reappointment on March 22. The press release then notes that "The City Council will vote to approve the confirmation of McManus on Friday, March 31."

At least one MPD cop, who asked not to be identified, isn't certain that McManus staying is a forgone conclusion. "He is highly regarded by all the city managers down in San Antonio," the officer says, adding that McManus will likely get better pay, and certainly better treatment in Texas--the City Council and the mayor here have been ambivalent about McManus. "Based on what I'm hearing, he's near the top of the finalist list, and I'd bet he'd go in a second if he made the cut."

San Antonio's city manager Sheryl Sculley, who is notoriously tight-lipped, is supposed to be making a recommendation to the San Antonio City Council sometime in mid-March. By then, Rybak will have the reappointment process rolling, but it might be too late.

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