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home : opinions : opinions November 25, 2015

7/12/2013 6:00:00 AM
TIMES EDITORIAL: Smith needs to retire and stay retired
Steve Smith
Steve Smith

While we've come to expect "leaders" at Blythe City Hall to look down their nose at the ignorant commoners that populate "their" city, the latest scheme to retire the chief of police and hire him back at an hourly wage to "save" the city money is so blatantly self-serving one would expect it from the Healthcare District Board.

Chief Steve Smith says he plans to retire, effective Aug. 1, and then hopes to return as an hourly employee, which means he'll collect his retirement paycheck as well as a city paycheck.

Smith told the Times that he wasn't going to get a raise until his officers get one, which is a noble thought, but our understanding is that Smith has been seeking a raise for himself for some time now.

This isn't the first time Smith has made a mockery of the police department and public he has sworn to protect. In October 2012, Smith resigned, referring to the city council in his resignation letter as "self-serving, oblivious and dysfunctional."

"Oblivious" proved to be a correct evaluation, because almost immediately after getting the letter insulting them, council members Wayne Cusick and Joey DeConinck begged Smith to stay on board what he had called "a sinking ship."

Mayor Oscar Galvan and Vice-mayor Sam Patel soon happily joined Cusick and DeConinck after Smith rescinded his letter, and the four gave Smith a standing ovation at a city council meeting.

Smith later clarified that he didn't intend his letter for the five council members but rather just one, Mike Evans, who has dared to question the chief and the rest of city management.

Smith has yet to explain why he wrote a letter that included all five when he meant just one.

So now the chief wants to collect his retirement and get a paycheck from the city at the same time because he doesn't make enough money.

Smith's current salary is $117,482 a year despite the city's maximum salary for police chief being $113,131. Smith also receives $10,577 in pension benefits and $15,069 in medical benefits.

Surely most of the working public in Blythe can understand and emphasize with the plight of someone who makes only $117,000 a year. We're all struggling to make ends meet.

Unfortunately, few of us are in a position to game the system the way Smith wants to, with a smile on his face and a tale of how he's going to save the city money. We're not buying it and neither should the public.

Smith's reign as police chief has been one of divisiveness and controversy. His "no one questions me" attitude, similar to City Manager Dave Lane's, has pushed the police department backward in the same direction Lane has steered the city.

Backed for so long by the Cusick-DeConinck brain trust, the city has accomplished little in recent years unless the rest of the council out-voted these two, which is happening more often as Galvan and Patel become more enlightened about Smith's and Lane's true natures that show heavily in this latest ploy.

The taxpayers have suffered most while these two have lorded over Blythe. To expect city residents to stand up and applaud this "brilliant" idea to retire and collect two checks shows just how out of touch Smith and Lane are with the people who pay the bills.

The best thing now is for an enlightened council majority - even if it's just three votes - to accept Smith's retirement and send him packing once and for all.

And while the council is at it, it should give Lane his walking papers, too, and look for leaders with a vision for the community, not just their own wallets.

The position expressed is that of the Palo Verde Valley Times.

Related Stories:
• City council to decide to accept Chief Smith's retirement
• Police Chief Steve Smith un-retires - again - pulls papers to run for city council
• Martinez graduates with Master's
• Smith puts in for retirement - then asks to work hourly

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Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, July 19, 2013
Article comment by: Peace Be Still

Well, I guss I pushed your buttons. Forgive me Puro Pedo. Peace Out !? No se enoje se hace viejo. Fur.....hmmmmm are you a bear? Side note, when you blog....you ring ''everybodies'' bell who read your're thoughts......

Posted: Thursday, July 18, 2013
Article comment by: El Pedo Bare

At The so call lady going as peace be still. Who rang your door bell? it sure wasn't me. It is El Pedo bare nothing less nothing more. then should your name not be mary magdalen of Blythe? (deleted) So do you want to run your fingers thru my fur?

Site Administrator's note: A portion of this comment has been removed because it violated our Terms of use Agreement.

Posted: Thursday, July 18, 2013
Article comment by: Karen Preston

I can't believe he would complain about his wages. If he can't make a living on over $117,000.00 a year, then he has a serious problem. I say suck it up cupcake. Look at the people pushing around shopping carts with everything they own in it. You should be ashamed of your greed.

Posted: Thursday, July 18, 2013
Article comment by: Peace Be Still

El Pedo Bare? or do u mean que el pedo pare? or just el pedo pare? Cause all I'm translating is the bare fart.....enlighten me. Just a bit curious as to the word pare, which meas to put an end to, where as bare, means naked? Help! No comprendo:(!...am I bad?

Posted: Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Article comment by: El Pedo Bare

The chief looks like the strong silent type that could squeeze the life out of you in ssssilent embrace. Stay chief.

Posted: Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Article comment by: @ The Chief

How Mr.Smith would you even think of hanging around Blythe..I hope you are reading these blogs and realize you are not as important to the community as you are to Dave Lane...I sure wouldn't want to wear your shoes...Do yourself a favor retire (deleted)

Site Administrator's note: A portion of this comment has been removed because it violated our Terms of use Agreement.

Posted: Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Article comment by: reconsidered issue

I have reconsidered the issue and have to say I agree that the Chief should retire and stay retired. This town has been suckered by too many greedy people, this is another opportunity for blythe to be suckered. If the chief really cared he would VOLUNTEER to finish projects that are dear to him - considering he will be making $100000 per year with nothing to do!! How many really good caring Blythians have GIVEN THEIR TIME, SOULS AND HEARTS TO BLYTHE??? FOR NOTHING & they don't have big fat retirements!! This man owes much to the taxpayers of this community - can u say thank you blythians??? Can u say thank you and I would like to GIVE BACK TO MY COMMUNITY??? That's where the heart should be instead of the greedy thoughts about "How can I get MORE" - can you think about all that you have now and what alot of us don't have? Blythe taxpayers are of every size and color - not just those in your high paid circle. U r going to make your home Blythe - then u need to volunteer to make our town better, come off your high horse and talk with the rest of the hardworking poor who do volunteer and give.

Posted: Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Article comment by: He's A

he had better hurry to get some of that pie! It is going fast! The employees have had their wages frozen to keep the doors open (so they say) but the doctors are still collecting for those directorships! $3000.00 per month per directorship! That's enough for a couple of employee's salary and they actually work for it. Pray for the people!

Posted: Monday, July 15, 2013
Article comment by: He's A (deleted)

He'll probably go get a slice of the hospital's pie after he is done cherry picking the city.

Site Administrator's note: A portion of this comment has been removed because it violated our Terms of use Agreement.

Posted: Monday, July 15, 2013
Article comment by: Peace Be Still

I have to agree, step down and stay down. Following some of the newspaper clippings, I understand that the chief is only looking out for self. Even on this one.....think about it. Please print this.

Posted: Monday, July 15, 2013
Article comment by: Blythe voterBlytheVoter

Steve P,

You are correct about the 960 hours, but it applies to a calendar year.mWhat Smith is trying to do is work 960 until December and then "restart" the next calendar. This means he will work until next June. right up until Lane is ready to leave....

As a Blythe Voter, I think it's time to end the questions about our PD and contract with the Sheriff like other successful cities in the county. Our next round of elections needs candidates willing to address the issue.

Posted: Sunday, July 14, 2013
Article comment by: I Like Blythe

At a department the size of BPD you would think Smith would be a more personable and knowledgable Chief, in terms of really knowing those that work for him and their needs. Smith acts like some kind of elitist that commands hundreds or thousands of personnel. Even if this was not a good time for Smith to leave (which it very much is) it's the right time. Smith has lost the trust of the department and the public. He has done nothing to improve moral, only destroy it. The nerve of him to offer to stay as a part-time employee to act as Chief is absurd. Our City and Police Department and those serving in it deserve a Chief that is full-time and hard at work fixing what Smith and his followers have broken in the last five years. It's obvious his plan is to suck another year and $60,000.00 out of the BPD budget, while he formulates his exit plan from our city. I find it very timely how Smith waited until just after his 5 years passed to retire. Actually it's not a surprise. He waited so he will enjoy life-time health benefits paid for by the City. With less time and for less money the City could hire a firm to find a better Chief who will serve BPD better and longer instead of giving it to Smith's.

Posted: Sunday, July 14, 2013
Article comment by: @ Spalermo

COB is covered by Pers and Smith will retire with probably 90% of his annual salary. If he wants to retire let him go but do you really want the current lt running the dept, then again he and a certain retired chief have been the puppt masters for the past 5 years

Posted: Sunday, July 14, 2013
Article comment by: @ steve palermo

I believe yes ..I know Cal pers covers all state employee's..No matter what agency you work for...

Posted: Saturday, July 13, 2013
Article comment by: just me @to just me

I would love to find a legal way to get rid of him as well and the frogs..But looks like we are strapped for a while.. it looks like we may be getting another female to support him ....CEO

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