Vice-chair Greg Hall, third from left, stepped down as a Public Safety Commissioner. Photo by Steve Whitmore

The vice-chairman of the South Pasadena Public Safety Commission, Greg Hall, a retired captain of the Los Angeles Police Department, resigned without comment from the commission at the last meeting on Monday, Jan. 14.

Hall, who was appointed to the commission on Dec. 7, 2016 by Councilwoman Diana Mahmud, was the only retired law enforcement officer on the commission and his resignation came as a surprise to his fellow commissioners. His term was set to expire December of 2020, according to city officials.

Hall did not return a phone call seeking comment about stepping down from the commission.

“I had no idea,” said Ellen Daigle, the chairwoman of the commission. “Greg is going to be huge loss. His expertise on the commission was invaluable. He retired at the same rank, captain, that Art Miller was when we selected Art as our police chief.”

Miller resigned his position as police chief late last year to take a similar job in Arizona. The city is in the process of seeking a replacement for the chief, which did cause some consternation on the commission as to the search process.

The commission wanted to have one of the interview panels to include a commission member. City Manager Stephanie DeWolfe said there couldn’t be a commission member on the panel because that would constitute a community panel and confidentiality for the applicants could not be guaranteed with such a panel. Daigle said on behalf of the commission that not having at least one member from the commission would be a “huge loss.”

This conversation about the search process occurred at the meeting prior to the last meeting, Jan. 14, where Hall stepped down. Also, between that last meeting and the one where Hall stepped down, the newly appointed mayor, Dr. Marina Khubesrian, appointed two new Public Safety Commissioners, Robin Hamilton and Stephanie Cao. Hamilton replaced Commissioner Vernon Rene Daley, who was termed out, and Cao replaced Robert Ettinger, who was in good standing and wanted to continue to serve. She re-appointed Grace Liu Kung. The terms are for three years.

So Pas Fire Chief Paul Riddle had no prior knowledge of Hall’s intent to step down as a commission and declined to speculate as to his reasoning. Riddle did say that he always appreciated Hall’s professionalism as a member of the Public Safety Commission.

Interim Police Chief Brian Solinsky also said he had no prior knowledge of Hall’s stepping down.

“I didn’t know before and was informed at the meeting,” Solinsky said in an email to The Review. “Greg did not express his reasonings.”

Councilmember Mahmud said she, too, was disappointed when she learned that Hall was stepping down.

“I was disappointed to learn of Greg’s resignation,” Mahmud said in an email to The Review. “I think it’s important to have some Public Safety Commission members with law enforcement experience as Greg had. He was a valued member of the Commission and he will be missed.”   

Daigle agreed, saying replacing Hall’s 35 years of law enforcement experience is going to be difficult to replace.

“I was so pleased when Diana appointed him,” Daigle said. “He was such an enormous asset,” she said. “It’s going to be very difficult to replace that kind of experience.”

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Steve Whitmore is the editor for the South Pasadena Review. Steve has spent more than four decades as an award-winning print and broadcast journalist with a 16-year stint as the senior media advisor for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. Steve comes to us from the Keene Sentinel in Keene, New Hampshire, where he covered politics and was a columnist.

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