Testy Exchanges Between Montgomery Police Chief and Mayor During Chief's Retirement Announcement

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By Catalina Trivino

Montgomery Police Chief, Kevin Murphy, is retiring, but not because he wants to. We broke the news on Friday that Murphy would be retiring, but no one could have predicted the testy news conference with Murphy and Mayor Todd Strange disagreeing on the chief's job performance.

The joint presser was made at city hall. Chief Murphy says to his understanding, the reason the Mayor is having him retire is because of leadership management issues. He says he was shocked when the city came to him about issues he was unaware of on June 13 -- the same day he was put on administrative leave.

It's been more than a week of  unanswered questions about the fate of Police Chief, Kevin Murphy. Murphy and Mayor Todd Strange stood side by side to announce the retirement after Murphy's 28 years in law enforcement. He spent the last three years as police chief.

Murphy says he was not ready to retire, but Strange says one reason for his leave is because of differences in opinion. He says current and former police officers also contacted him with information.

"To tell us of instances and things that have been going on for a while relative to Chief Murphy's management style and some of the, in their view, vindictiveness and behavior that created a hostile work environment," Said Strange.
    
"Some may interpret my high standards and strictness as harsh or too demanding. But I call it leadership and accountability," Said Murphy.

There were also testy exchanges between Strange and Murphy. One was tied to the recent suicide death of Chief Murphy's twin brother and the time he took to grieve.
  
"I've been told by several members who were not afraid to break their silence that they were ordered not to talk to me," Said Murphy. "And that hurts... that hurts because at a time when I needed my MPD family at the loss of my brother, they were taken away from me."

Mayor Strange followed by saying, "I cannot let that statement go. You were on leave. You were with your family in Louisiana , we did not want you to be actively involved in running the police department."

Strange says the statement made to the police department was that "all matters should go to the acting police chief."

Murphy also mentioned another incident where Public Safety Director, Chris Murphy, cancelled the department's Christmas party at the Renaissance Hotel.

"It was done without my knowledge and I felt that it was very improper for the police chief to not be involved in that process," Said Chief Murphy.
    
"If I may just do a follow up," Said Strange at the podium. "I didn't frankly know that Director Murphy went and cancelled the contracts, but the rest of the story is the chief of police does not have the authority to enter into contracts for multi-year with organizations out there. So frankly, the Renaissance had an illegal contract."

The mayor says Murphy will retire on September 30, until then he will stay on paid administrative leave. But Murphy did make it clear -- he says it's not the last time we'll be seeing him. He's not done yet.

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