06:46 AM PDT on Wednesday, August 17, 2011


A grand jury report on the San Bernardino International Airport Authority, which Pat Morris leads, is making the mayor a target of his political opponents at City Council meetings.

Councilwoman Wendy McCammack said she is concerned that Morris is overlooking the faults of police chief candidates, just as she said Morris did when he approved hiring a felon to develop the airport.

“I want to be sure that the mayor does not saddle us with a police chief whom he thinks is OK, but has serious problems like convicted felon Scot Spencer at the airport has,” McCammack said at Monday’s meeting.

McCammack said background checks should have been done on the final five candidates instead of just the final two. Morris said that would have been too expensive.

“I would like to lay all my faith in the headhunter, the interview panels of well-respected public safety officials and the mayor, but with what has happened with the airport scandal, I am frankly a little skeptical,” McCammack said.

One reported finalist, Cam Sanchez, chief of the Santa Barbara Police Department, is dealing with the arrest of the department’s business manager on suspicion of embezzling more than $100,000 from parking tickets. The other, Robert Handy, a precinct commander in Phoenix, was accused of harassment by an officer. He was cleared by a city investigation, though some officers say Handy has mistreated others.

McCammack last week raised concerns about Morris bringing forth candidates with such issues.

“This kind of uninformed prejudgment is political rhetoric — negative political rhetoric in its worst form,” Morris responded Monday.

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