Marana Assistant Police Chief Barbara Harris will retire from the department on June 30, after spending the last three months on paid administrative leave.
The town council on Tuesday, June 10, approved a separation agreement with the assistant chief.
Harris had been on paid administrative since March 11. She was taken off paid leave on June 2, but she won’t return to active duty before her departure. In the meantime she will collect pay based on her accumulated vacation time and sick leave.
On March 4, members of the Marana Police Officers Association, the union representing the town’s law enforcement officers, gave a vote of no confidence in Harris’ leadership and asked for her removal.
“It came down to it wasn’t quite a fit,” Councilman Jon Post said June 10, describing the split between Harris and the town as “very amicable.”
Councilwoman Roxanne Ziegler said Harris’ retirement stemmed from negative assessments her of leadership in two recent surveys of police department employees.
In both surveys — one conducted by the town, the other by the state’s police union — employees faulted Harris for a “not consistently follow(ing) the chain of command.” Employees also fingered her as a key factor for the department’s “low morale,” according to both surveys.
The same surveys faulted outgoing Chief Richard Vidaurri for leadership problems as well. Vidaurri also retired, and has since been replaced with an interim chief, Terry Tometich, who previously worked with the Arizona Department of Public Safety.
Assistant Chief Harris had served as second-in-command for the Marana Police Department since 2006. Before that, she served as a commander and interim police chief at Pima Community College.
Harris next plans to take a position as a course director at Northwestern University’s School of Police Staff and Command, according a statement from town officials.
The town has yet to determine how it will fill the assistant chief’s post.