Easton Police Chief Stephen A. Mazzeo said Thursday he is resigning under pressure from Mayor Phil Mitman.
Mazzeo, 50, said he was asked to resign late Wednesday afternoon during the second of two meetings in City Hall with Mitman and his chief of staff, Stu Gallaher.
"They said they wanted me to resign effective Monday," Mazzeo said. "I said, "What have I done wrong?"'
Mazzeo said he will submit his resignation letter Monday, but he has offered to continue working through the end of the year to help with the transition.
Mitman issued a brief written statement late Thursday after learning Mazzeo had notified media outlets about his impending resignation.
"This change is about the long-term critical future of our city and our police department," Mitman wrote. "I have had to make an extremely difficult decision that our city and our police department need a new and different leadership."
Police union officials, who previously called for Mazzeo's resignation, said the officers rejoiced when they learned what had transpired, but they were disappointed in Mitman for not making the decision sooner.
"This vindicates the men and the citizens of the city," said Dominick Marraccini, president of Fraternal Order of Police Washington Lodge 17. "It also shows there was no need for us to call for a vote of confidence because the mayor has now shown he has no confidence in the chief."
Mitman apparently asked for Mazzeo's resignation without a solid transition plan.
Mitman said he would begin advertising today for a new chief. He hopes to hire someone who has served in multiple supervisory positions, has advanced
management skills, a high level of police training and experience working in an accredited department.
The mayor's statement provided no further details, but he said he would discuss his decision in more detail today.
Mazzeo said the mayor indicated to him he would appoint an interim chief from within the department while searching for a permanent replacement.
Marraccini and the police union's vice president, Charles McMonagle, said they hope the mayor would seek the advice of the officers in hiring the next chief.
Although Mitman offered no explanation for asking the chief to resign, Mazzeo said he was told he was "moving too slow" in reorganizing the department and reining in overtime, and that he lacked "management style."
But as recently as July, the mayor publicly backed Mazzeo and became indignant when asked at a news conference whether he was looking to replace Mazzeo.
"The chief is the chief. That's my comment for now," Mitman said then.
City Council President Sandra Vulcano and Vice President Michael P. Fleck declined to comment when asked about Mazzeo's impending resignation.
Mitman named Mazzeo as chief the day after he became mayor in January 2004, saying he believed Mazzeo could "rebuild the morale and leadership that has been missing over the last several years."
Police chief in Easton told to quit
Mazzeo to resign Monday
We've upgraded our reader commenting system. Learn more about the new features.