City Manager James D. Ruth explained Wednesday that he ordered Police Chief Joseph T. Molloy to stop taking money for his work as a security consultant for the Rams to "eliminate the possibility" of a conflict of interest, not because the chief did anything wrong.
Molloy is a "hard-working" police chief, Ruth said, and described the time the chief spent with the National Football League team as "inconsequential." But the public might have become concerned if Molloy had to make a law enforcement decision affecting the club or a player, he said.
Molloy received more than $10,000 in pay, game tickets and reimbursement for expenses from the team last year, according to city documents.
"I think I made a good decision," Ruth said. "This avoids any issue of conflict."
City Council members Wednesday generally supported Ruth's decision.
Molloy, who became Anaheim's police chief in 1988, did not return calls for comment Wednesday. In past interviews, the chief has said he saw nothing wrong with his work for the team.
"The reason I'm doing it is because I enjoy the game," Molloy said in December when questions were first raised about his employment by the team.
A Rams spokesman said Wednesday the team would have no comment on the decision.
After an eight-month inquiry, Ruth issued a memorandum Wednesday telling Molloy he could no longer be paid by the team nor reimbursed for expenses. Molloy will also lose sideline privileges during the team's home games at Anaheim Stadium.
Ruth also ruled that Molloy can travel with the team to road games only if the primary security consultant--Anaheim Police Lt. Jim Flammini--is unavailable due to an emergency. In such cases, Molloy would be required to pay for his own plane ticket and hotel room, and take vacation days if the trip conflicts with his normal working hours, Ruth said.
Molloy began working for the Rams last season after being approached by the team's new head coach, Chuck Knox. His duties included coordinating players' hotel bed checks and dealing with other cities' law enforcement authorities on matters involving the team.
Ruth said Flammini's work with the team does not pose the same risk of a conflict of interest that Molloy's work did because Flammini has Police Department superiors who can counterman his decisions and, unlike Molloy, he does not make department policy.
Mayor Tom Daly said that while he is not "completely comfortable" with Molloy's relationship with the Rams, he's "still thinking about it" and did not want to comment further.
Councilman Frank Feldhaus said Wednesday that he approved of Ruth's decision, but added that Molloy should spend his time thinking about "drugs, gangs and graffiti and the other tough crime problems we have in the city," and not be distracted by a second job.
Councilman Irv Pickler said he has questions about Molloy having a second job, but agrees that if he's not being paid and he's off-duty, the city cannot stop him from volunteering his time.
Councilman Bob D. Simpson said he has "no problem" with the decision.
Councilman Fred Hunter is on vacation in Africa.
In essence, Ruth said, he is not ordering Molloy to sever all contact with the team, but banning him from receiving financial benefit from the relationship.
"If this (activity) helps his mental health and helps him get over any stress he feels being police chief, it's a good thing," Ruth said. In fact, if an incident were to occur in the stands, Ruth said he could not think of anyone better to have in the stadium than the police chief.