Thin margin in SF police union election triggers runoff

Police in San Francisco are deeply divided over who should be the voice of the rank-and-file officers union, newly counted election results show.

San Francisco Police Officers Association President Tony Montoya was only ahead of his main challenger, Sgt. Rich Cibotti, by 15 when the votes were tallied last Friday at midnight, according to a source within the union.

With neither candidate raking in a majority of the votes in the contest, the union is expected to hold a runoff election between Montoya and Cibotti next week.

The San Francisco Examiner first reported in November that Cibotti planned to challenge Montoya for control of the union.

Cibotti has the endorsement of former SFPOA President Gary Delagnes, who was ousted from his role as a consultant for the union over comments he made on Facebook about the late Public Defender Jeff Adachi.

Delagnes has heavily criticized Montoya for his leadership style, saying that his more collaborative approach to leading the association has not been successful.

“In San Francisco you have to fight for everything you get,” Delagnes previously told the Examiner. “The POA is being used as a punching bag, and it’s a little old. I just don’t think that the current leadership is aggressive enough.”

Delagnes was referring to Supervisor Sandra Fewer leading a chant of “F— the POA” at an election night party for newly elected District Attorney Chesa Boudin.

He criticized Montoya despite the SFPOA aggressively spending to oppose Boudin during the November election.

Montoya received 836 of the 1,703 votes cast compared to 821 votes for Cibotti, according to the source. Another 46 votes went to a third candidate for president, Joe Valdez.

A candidate would need to hit the threshold of 852 votes to win.

mbarba@sfexaminer.com

Crime

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