On Tuesday, South Tucson Police Chief Michael Ford was the victim of retaliation after enduring verbal abuse by Mayor Ildefonso Green the night before, during a City Council meeting. Green accused Ford of leaking information about the mismanagement of the City’s finances.
Green’s accusation was surprising given that South Tucson’s financial crisis is well-known and documented in news items.
Despite the fact that the Police Department has the potential to bring in revenues, and the Fire Department only costs money, Green has indicated that he wants to outsource both services. He later denied that outsourcing was a possibility.
Green claimed that Ford had to be “leaking” information to the press due to coverage of anticipated cuts to public safety in the face of a massive $650,000 deficit.
Green called on Ford during the meeting and repeatedly asked him who “the leaker” is. Ford repeatedly answered, “You know who it is,” referring to the fact that the information was attained by the media from the public record including comments made at Council meetings.
After enduring the baseless accusations, Ford, who has been with the City since 2014, finally walked out of the meeting. Green then accused him of insubordination.
On Wednesday, Ford was asked to discuss the matter with Green. Green was a no-show, and Ford was confronted by City Manager Sixto Molina, who advised him that he was out and his second-in-command, Lt. Kevin Shonk, would take over.
Green, a City of Tucson employee, and his operatives orchestrated a take over of the small city forcing reformers out. Green’s group recalled former Mayor Paul Diaz.
Diaz was targeted after he and City Manager, former State Senator Luis Gonzales exposed an illegal tax scheme. Information about the scheme, in which Pima County had collected an illegal tax on behalf of South Tucson, was sent to the Pima County Attorney’s Criminal Division by Gonzales at the direction of Diaz and the then City Council majority. Reportedly Diaz also turned the documents over to the Arizona Attorney General’s Office.
At the time, Gonzales told the Pima County Board of Supervisors, “We believe that in the event that this property tax has been imposed improperly or illegally then obviously there was a shared responsibility here.”
Not long after that, Diaz was recalled.
Should the deficit force the City of South Tucson into bankruptcy, Pima County would gain control of the community.
Records show that under Ford’s leadership, the Police Department was receiving high marks.