Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Arias Asks the Big Question: Is Benching Chief Balderrama About Race?
gvw_david_taub
By David Taub, Senior Reporter
Published 1 month ago on
June 13, 2024
Play Video

(City of Fresno)

Share

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Fresno City Councilmember Miguel Arias is speaking on the sidelining of Police Chief Paco Balderrama — the first of his colleagues to go public with their thoughts.

In comments from the dais during Thursday’s council meeting, Arias asked the media to leave Balderrama’s family out of stories and openly questioned if Balderrama’s race is a factor in a decision by the administration of Mayor Jerry Dyer to place the chief on paid administrative leave.

Balderrama became the first Latino chief in Fresno history upon taking the job in January 2021.

“Our city has a well-documented track record of not taking personal action against white executive leaders that engage in extramarital affairs with city employees under their command,” Arias said. “I was continuously told that such behavior was not a personnel matter for the city. In short, the city had no business looking into the bedrooms of our city officials or employees as it relates to employment status, a position I fully support.”

City Manager Georgeanne White put Balderrama on paid leave Wednesday afternoon. The city is investigating Balderrama for “an inappropriate off-duty relationship he was involved in with a non-city employee.”

Although the city would not clarify, according to published reports, the alleged relationship was with the spouse of a Fresno police officer, lasting more than two years.

“Why is it a violation when an executive of color makes the same mistake with non-employees?” Arias said.

Police Chief Paco Balderrama displays prayer beads when talking to the media on Wednesday, June 12, 2024. Hours later, the city placed him on paid leave. (GV Wire/David Taub)

FPOA Met Wednesday

Arias also questioned the police union, Fresno Police Officers Association, for protecting its members for alleged misdeeds, but not standing up for Balderrama. Arias said several city unions, including FPOA, believe discipline for extramarital affairs is off limits.

“As a policy maker entrusted with ensuring policies are applied fairly to our employees, that is concerning,” Arias said.

Balderrama is a member of the union.

The FPOA executive board met Wednesday afternoon.

“The FPOA Board of Directors agrees with the city placing Chief Balderrama on paid administrative leave pending the conclusion of their investigation” and that it “is in the best interest of all parties involved,” FPOA leadership said in a message to members.

The executive board added, “We believe this will restore stability to our department after a period of great turmoil.”

GV Wire is awaiting a response from FPOA on the statements by Arias.

Arias Monitoring ‘From the Sideline’

Arias also said that he is concerned about litigation fallout. He says his office will monitor the Balderrama investigation “from the sideline.”

“If a double standard is applied for employees of color, I will bring forward a city policy to address how we handle extramarital affairs across all employee groups. I do not believe that government belongs in our doctor’s offices and our homes, much less than our bedrooms,” Arias said.

Mayor Dyer declined to comment.

Balderrama Scheduled for Atlanta Conference

Prior to his paid leave, Balderrama was set to attend Flock Forward, a police conference in Atlanta organized by Flock Safety — a public safety technology company.

“Chief Balderrama was scheduled to speak at our conference, but he will not be speaking and is not onsite,” a Flock Safety spokesperson told GV Wire, contradicting other local media published reports.

The conference hotel said Balderrama was not a guest there.

Police Brass Attends Council Meeting

Several members of police leadership attended the council meeting in support of Capt. Anthony Martinez, who is leaving the department to become Fresno State police chief. Mindy Casto, named acting chief by White, participated in the ceremony.

Balderrama’s name never came up.

The Fresno City Council honors Capt. Anthony Martinez, Thursday, June 13, 2024, for being named Fresno State police chief. Left to right: City Councilmember Mike Karbassi, Martinez, Mayor Jerry Dyer, acting chief Mindy Casto, and deputy chiefs Mike Landon and Mark Salazar. (GV Wire/David Taub)

RELATED TOPICS:

DON'T MISS

MLB All-Star Game Viewers up 6% to 7.44 Million After Falling to Record Low Last Year

DON'T MISS

Obama, Pelosi and Democrats Make a Fresh Push for Biden to Reconsider 2024 Race

DON'T MISS

The Last Cards Have Been Dealt as the Iconic Mirage Closes Its Doors on the Las Vegas Strip

DON'T MISS

Visalia Man Faces Third Strike for Serial Burglary

DON'T MISS

American Who Made Social Media Threats Against Taylor Swift Detained Ahead of German Concert

DON'T MISS

Netanyahu Makes Surprise Visit to Troops in Gaza Days Before Speech to US Congress

DON'T MISS

The Grateful Dead and Francis Ford Coppola Are Among the Newest Kennedy Center Honors Recipients

DON'T MISS

Magic Co-Founder Pat Williams, Who Helped Bring Team to Orlando, Dies at 84

DON'T MISS

US Army Honors Nisei Combat Unit That Helped Liberate Tuscany From Nazi-Fascist Forces in WWII

DON'T MISS

Greenhouses Are Becoming More Popular, but There’s Little Research on How to Protect Workers

UP NEXT

Obama, Pelosi and Democrats Make a Fresh Push for Biden to Reconsider 2024 Race

UP NEXT

The Last Cards Have Been Dealt as the Iconic Mirage Closes Its Doors on the Las Vegas Strip

UP NEXT

Visalia Man Faces Third Strike for Serial Burglary

UP NEXT

American Who Made Social Media Threats Against Taylor Swift Detained Ahead of German Concert

UP NEXT

Netanyahu Makes Surprise Visit to Troops in Gaza Days Before Speech to US Congress

UP NEXT

The Grateful Dead and Francis Ford Coppola Are Among the Newest Kennedy Center Honors Recipients

UP NEXT

Magic Co-Founder Pat Williams, Who Helped Bring Team to Orlando, Dies at 84

UP NEXT

US Army Honors Nisei Combat Unit That Helped Liberate Tuscany From Nazi-Fascist Forces in WWII

UP NEXT

Greenhouses Are Becoming More Popular, but There’s Little Research on How to Protect Workers

UP NEXT

European Leaders Discuss Migration and Ukraine at a UK Summit as Concern Grows About Direction of US

David Taub,
Senior Reporter
Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email

Visalia Man Faces Third Strike for Serial Burglary

35 mins ago

American Who Made Social Media Threats Against Taylor Swift Detained Ahead of German Concert

47 mins ago

Netanyahu Makes Surprise Visit to Troops in Gaza Days Before Speech to US Congress

49 mins ago

The Grateful Dead and Francis Ford Coppola Are Among the Newest Kennedy Center Honors Recipients

1 hour ago

Magic Co-Founder Pat Williams, Who Helped Bring Team to Orlando, Dies at 84

1 hour ago

US Army Honors Nisei Combat Unit That Helped Liberate Tuscany From Nazi-Fascist Forces in WWII

1 hour ago

Greenhouses Are Becoming More Popular, but There’s Little Research on How to Protect Workers

1 hour ago

European Leaders Discuss Migration and Ukraine at a UK Summit as Concern Grows About Direction of US

2 hours ago

Newly Arrived Migrants Encounter Hazards of Food Delivery on the Streets of NYC: Robbers

2 hours ago

WNBA Players’ Union Head Concerned League Is Being Undervalued in New Media Deal

2 hours ago

MLB All-Star Game Viewers up 6% to 7.44 Million After Falling to Record Low Last Year

NEW YORK — Paul Skenes, Shohei Ohtani, Jarren Duran and the rest of this year’s All-Stars drew 7,443,000 viewers on Fox, up 6% from th...

2 mins ago

2 mins ago

MLB All-Star Game Viewers up 6% to 7.44 Million After Falling to Record Low Last Year

15 mins ago

Obama, Pelosi and Democrats Make a Fresh Push for Biden to Reconsider 2024 Race

17 mins ago

The Last Cards Have Been Dealt as the Iconic Mirage Closes Its Doors on the Las Vegas Strip

35 mins ago

Visalia Man Faces Third Strike for Serial Burglary

47 mins ago

American Who Made Social Media Threats Against Taylor Swift Detained Ahead of German Concert

49 mins ago

Netanyahu Makes Surprise Visit to Troops in Gaza Days Before Speech to US Congress

1 hour ago

The Grateful Dead and Francis Ford Coppola Are Among the Newest Kennedy Center Honors Recipients

1 hour ago

Magic Co-Founder Pat Williams, Who Helped Bring Team to Orlando, Dies at 84

Search

Send this to a friend