SFPOA vice president replaces Halloran as union leader

San Francisco Police Officers Association President Martin Halloran is out as head of the divisive union as of Wednesday in the latest change in police leadership in The City.

Former SFPOA Vice President Tony Montoya has replaced Halloran as president of the union, which has a fraught relationship with numerous elected officials at City Hall. Halloran has served as president since 2013.

Halloran and Montoya could not immediately be reached for comment, but Halloran confirmed in an email that his tenure as president had concluded.

SEE RELATED: Combative police union leader to serve another term

The news comes a day after the Board of Supervisors rejected the reappointments of two members to the Police Commission, stalling the seven-member body from meeting again until it has at least four members. Two commissioners had already resigned before the decision, which Mayor Mark Farrell called “outrageous.”

San Francisco may also soon need a new police chief, as Bill Scott is reportedly in the running to become head of the Los Angeles Police Department. Scott has had a tense relationship with the SFPOA since criticizing a June ballot measure backed by the union to create a new policy for arming officers with stun guns.

Halloran said in March that the Police Commission had played Scott “like a cheap fiddle” after the chief called Proposition H, which is opposed by most city elected officials, the “antithesis” of reform. Halloran warned that Scott could soon “drive an irreparable wedge between himself and the membership.”

Though Halloran has denied it, the SFPOA has been accused of stalling police reform since the U.S. Department of Justice released 272 recommendations for reform in 2016 in the wake of controversial police shootings.

Earlier this month, the union reached its first full contract deal with San Francisco in a decade after tense negotiations over salary increases and a proposal that was intended to expedite police reform in The City.

An arbitrator struck down the police reform proposal and decided on a three-year agreement that includes a 9 percent pay raise for officers over three years.
In the SFPOA Journal, Montoya compared one of The City’s proposals during contract negotiations to “something North Korean Kim Jong Un might impose.”

“Does that sound like a new and friendly POA?,” said John Crew, a regular opponent of the union and retired ACLU attorney. “Does that sound like a different tone? It sounds like more of the same.”

Crew noted that Montoya was among the subjects of an excessive force lawsuit that San Francisco settled in October 2016 for $40,000. Montoya also reportedly admitted to a neglect of duty charge in 2000 and was suspended for 30 days.

“There is no reason in particular to think, absent some sort of public statement, that the police union is going to go in another direction,” Crew said.

mbarba@sfexaminer.com

Michael Barba
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