Monterey Park's new police chief is the second high-ranking city official in a week to be promoted from within, a trend that city officials are encouraging.
Deputy Police Chief Daniel G. Cross, 42, who takes over Sept. 30, succeeds Robert W. Collins, who announced his retirement last week.
On Sept. 10, the City Council appointed Management Services Director Chris Jeffers to be city manager.
Cross and other officials say he had been marked for the chief's position since February, when he was one of several finalists for the job of South Pasadena police chief.
As an incentive for Cross to stay in Monterey Park, then-City Manager Mark Lewis gave him a 5% raise and promoted him from captain. The promotion was seen as an unwritten guarantee that Cross would succeed Collins, who was expected to retire shortly.
"What we wanted to do was send a strong message that I was being developed as chief . . . so that the transition was very smooth," Cross said Tuesday.
In the past, Monterey Park officials have clashed over whether high-ranking positions in city government should be filled by promoting from within or by accepting applications from outside the city.
Though no policy has been set, Mayor Betty Couch said the city has had better luck promoting from within. Lewis, who was hired from outside, was fired after repeated run-ins with the council. And Collins' predecessor as chief--also hired from outside--was forced to resign after only one year.
Jeffers said Cross' salary has not been decided but will be between $64,000 and $77,000 a year. Collins' salary was $74,791.
Collins, 68, is leaving the department for the second time. In March, 1990, he was coaxed out of retirement to lead the Police Department through a "healing period" after the sudden resignation of Chief Kenneth Hickman. Collins intended to stay only temporarily.
Hickman, a strong advocate of an open hiring process, was a Los Angeles police commander before becoming Monterey Park's chief in March, 1989. He was chosen over Capt. Joseph Santoro, a popular in-house candidate. Santoro later became chief in Monrovia.
A year after being hired, Hickman clashed with some members of the Personnel Board for insisting that the city go outside the department to recruit a new police captain to replace Santoro. Cross eventually got the job.
Cross, a 17-year veteran of the department, said that he will fill all high-ranking vacancies by promoting within the department because open hiring is "detrimental. It means there are no qualified people here, and that's not true."
One of his immediate plans is to improve the Police Department's relationship with the community by encouraging more officers to participate in activities such as the Neighborhood Watch program. Cross, who lives in San Dimas, holds a master's degree in public administration from Cal State Los Angeles.
Collins began his Monterey Park career in 1955 as a police officer. He said Tuesday that he plans to travel across the United States with his wife, Mitzi. Eventually, the couple plan to move from Monterey Park to San Dimas to be close to their son John, an Alhambra police sergeant.