News

City and police chief 'part ways'

ARLINGTON Neither the city nor Arlington's Police Chief John Gray are saying much regarding the June 24 announcement that he would no longer be leading the city's police department.

"We have mutually agreed to part ways," said the city's assistant administrator, Kristin Banfield, June 25.

Gray's has been police chief since 2001 and his contract with the city was due to expire in October.

Initial reports of his departure surfaced June 24, but no one involved in the issue was willing to provide additional information.

"I am sorry I can't say anything," said Mayor Margaret Larson, June 30. "You know, it's all about legal issues," she added.

Chief Gray sent an e-mail to The Arlington Times after the initial reports to clarify some of the reporting.

"...I wanted to tell you that I have not 'resigned.' I am on administrative leave with pay while a conversation is occurring about ending my employment relationship with the city. Allen Johnson placed me on this leave at the direction of the City Council and contrary to other reports, I have not met with Mayor Larson on this issue," Gray wrote in the June 26 e-mail.

"While this delicate conversation is underway, I wanted to share with you that there is no drama, nor scandal or accusations and the trust that the public has placed in the Police Department should remain untainted," Gray continued. "The city can decide anytime and without reason to change the leadership of any of the departments and has chosen so with the Police Department. I knew that was possible when I stepped into the police chief arena 12 years ago with the city of Lake Stevens.

"I have the highest respect for the employees of the Police Department because they are a special collection of talented and dedicated people who are committed to the community," he added.

Gray declined to comment further until after the issue is addressed at the July 7 City Council meeting.

Rumors were flying around town after an executive session on "personnel issues" followed the Monday night Arlington City Council meeting. The public and press are not allowed in executive sessions to provide the Council and staff privacy to discuss confidential issues often dealing with personnel issues. Any action as a result of the executive session must be taken in public meetings.

The city will likely take action at the next City Council meeting July 7, Banfield said.

The city will start a search for a replacement once the dust settles, she added.

"It's way too fresh at the moment," Banfield said June 25.

Lieutenant Terry Quintrall will be acting chief in the meantime, she said.

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