SAN FRANCISCO -- The long awaited axe fell Monday for Police Chief Willis Casey, who was fired by Mayor Frank Jordan in a move the mayor said marks 'a new era for the city.'
The two men, both long-time veterans of the San Francisco Police Department, have been at odds since the last stormy months of Jordan's tenure as the city's top cop.
Jordan resigned as chief 16 months ago and then ran successfully for mayor, defeating incumbent Art Agnos in a December runoff election.
No sooner had the final vote total been counted than rumors began to fly about Casey's future. On Monday, Casey showed up at City Hall for what he thought was a budget meeting. Instead, Jordan told him he was fired.
'This marks a new era for the city,' Jordan said. 'A time of change from an ever-bigger government to a time of a smaller government that is more efficient.'
Casey said he had always thought he might be fired, but it still came as a surprise.
'I really didn't expect it,' the former chief said. 'There are two strong emotions I'm feeling right now. The first is relief, this is a tough job. The second is 'What are I going to do now?''
As a replacement for Casey, Jordan has nominated Assessor Richard Hongisto to the Police Commission for confirmation.
Hongisto, who lost to Jordan in the mayoral election, began his law enforcement career as a beat cop in San Francisco. He moved on to a rather controversial tenure as sheriff in the late 1970s and then served briefly as police chief of Cleveland and a police commissioner in New York state.