PONTIAC (WWJ) – Pontiac’s police chief has served his last day as top cop. This news comes less than 24 hours after police officers in the city voted to dissolve their union contact.
Val Gross, a 29-year veteran, received a memo from the city’s emergency financial manager, Michael Stampfler, telling him his services were no longer needed.
Pontiac Mayor Leon Jukowski told WWJ Newsradio 950 he doesn’t believe the firing is a loss to the city.
“Mr. Gross was not my choice for police chief. I’ve made that very, very clear to the EMF in the past, and the EFM chose to keep him on in spite of that, through the negotiations on going to the Sheriff’s department. I don’t know the exact reasons for his being let go, but I support them for my own reasons,” Jukowski said.
Wednesday, members of the union representing Pontiac’s police officers have voted to accept putting the Oakland County sheriff’s department in charge of city patrols. Stampfler had proposed the move last year, saying said it would save the cash-strapped city $2 million annually.
Jukowski said the timing makes sense.
“I can’t speak for the EFM, but it would certainly be my observation that if we are transitioning from the police department to the Sheriff’s department, we would want somebody to guide that process that was not actively working against it, and Chief Gross has made no secret of the fact that he is actively opposed,” he said.
Pontiac Police Captain Wendy Keelty-Reyes will serve as Interim Chief.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.