Assistant chief returns to work - Tucson Local Media: Pima Pinal

Assistant chief returns to work

Harris keeps job title, changes job descriptions

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Posted: Wednesday, January 7, 2009 12:00 am

Marana Assistant Police Chief Barbara Harris returned to work Monday, Jan. 5, after winning an appeal of her June 20 firing.

The assistant chief returned to an entirely new job, though her title remains the same.

Her new duties can be summed up as “Town of Marana emergency management and security coordinator,” said Police Chief Terry Tometich.

Harris will train town employees so Marana can meet federal and state specifications necessary for qualifying for Homeland Security grants.

Harris’ duty change is due to a previous restructuring of the department, Tometich said.

After Harris’ departure last June, the assistant chief position was eliminated. The position of commander was created and filled by Joe Carrasco.

Several employees previously handled Harris’ new duties, Tometich said.

“Since she’s coming back, it gives me the opportunity to centralize all the responsibilities under one person instead of farming them out to many,” he said.

Harris’ compensation is the same as before she left. She will earn $87,125 annually.

The assistant chief’s return to work is controversial within the department.

The Marana Police Officer’s Association spoke out last month against the Dec. 10 vote by the town’s Personnel Action Review Board to overturn her firing and has since claimed that her appeal hearing violated Arizona’s open meeting laws.

Harris was fired three months after the police association presented a vote of no confidence in her leadership and the leadership of then-chief Richard Vidaurri.

Tometich said he sent an e-mail to all members of the police department after the Dec. 10 vote asking them to handle Harris’ return in a professional manner.

“I expect everybody to adhere to that, and if something comes up, being the chief of police, I’ll handle it,” he said.

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