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Fired Santa Ana city manager could return as police chief

Paul Walters as police chief in 2003. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

The Santa Ana City Council was scheduled to meet Thursday afternoon to discuss the terms of its separation from City Manager Paul Walters, which could include a request for a public hearing on behalf of the fired administrator.

The council, with the exception of Mayor Miguel Pulido, voted to oust Walters on Tuesday evening, a move that has exposed a deepening divide between the longtime mayor and city council members.

Walters, who is seen as an ally of Pulido, could revert back to his position as the city’s police chief, a job he held since 1988. Carlos Rojas is serving as acting police chief.

Walters’ attorney, Wendell Phillips, said besides the request for a public meeting and the police chief job option, an exit package could be negotiated as well.

“It’s kind of up in the air,” he said.

Phillips said council members Sal Tinajero, Michele Martinez, David Benavides and Vince Sarmineto, whom he dubbed the “Gang of Four,” were responsible for the termination of Walters. Phillips said the city had benefited from Walters' 42 years of experience.

“Paul’s just a casualty of the war,” he said.


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Photo: Paul Walters as police chief in 2003. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

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