Union confirms it has parted ways with former longtime president
The pugnacious former head of the San Francisco Police Officers Association has purportedly been unanimously expelled from the organization.
Gary Delagnes, the union’s president from 2004 to 2013 has vented to his colleagues that, following his Feb. 28 Facebook post labeling recently departed Public Defender Jeff Adachi “a serial adulterer who drove his wife to a suicide attempt” he has been summarily relieved of his consulting position by the POA executive board.
“Only in San Francisco is Jeff Adachi a hero,” Delagnes wrote on Facebook. “Have your hero San Francisco and congratulations.”
This is not the first Facebook screed from Delagnes. In 2016, after the creation of Mario Woods Day, he labeled the Board of Supervisors “idiots” who “honored a street thug who stabbed another African American.”
Delagnes, a longtime street cop, ascended to the POA’s vice presidency in 1990. Under his leadership, the San Francisco Police Department became one of the nation’s most well-compensated police forces, going from the state’s 92nd-best-paid department in 1992 to become one of the richest big-city outfits in all of California. It was Delagnes’ ability to play hardball at the negotiating table that kept him on board earning nearly $100,000 a year as a consultant.
At the same time, he served as the vocal and very visible face of a union increasingly viewed as a reactionary force — and, to a greater and greater extent, isolated from power and on the political outs. Last year, the POA outspent its foes by a 5-to-1 margin in attempting to pass its pro-Taser measure, Proposition H. And yet, the POA found itself outhustled by, of all groups, the city’s Democratic Socialists. Prop. H was torched in a 60-40 split by San Francisco voters.
This was the latest in a series of self-inflicted wounds for the city’s bellicose police union. It spent heavily to defend the cops caught up in the Textgate scandal, even though it wasn’t obligated to do so; it has carried on legal trench warfare for years regarding the department’s use-of-force policies that it likely won’t win; and the union even developed a personal vendetta against then-Supervisor London Breed and put its money behind no-hope mayoral candidate Angela Alioto. Everyone knows how that turned out.
Messages for Delagnes and POA President Tony Montoya have not been returned. An e-mail sent to Delagnes’ POA account bounced; it has apparently been disabled.
In the current edition of the POA newsletter, Delagnes reveals that he in January underwent surgery to treat pancreatic cancer.
“Maybe this was a wake-up call from God to reprioritize my life,” Delagnes wrote. “To be a better husband, father, brother, and friend — and never take what I have for granted. To all of you who reached out and gave me your prayers, I am grateful. Enjoy each day and don’t look too far ahead. I love you all and thank you.”
Update, 4:30 p.m.: The POA confirmed Mission Local’s story via a press release.
San Francisco Police Officers Assoc. statement on Separation from Former SFPOA President Gary Delagnes
The Executive Board of the San Francisco Police Officers Association issued the following statement regarding its relationship with former SFPOA President Gary Delagnes:
“The San Francisco Police Officers’ Association has separated its professional relationship with our former president, Gary Delagnes. Gary worked on behalf of our membership for many decades and we appreciate his commitment to improving the wages, benefits and working conditions of San Francisco police officers. The SFPOA is committed to working collaboratively with all San Franciscans that share our goal of creating the safest city possible.”
Executive Board, San Francisco Police Officers Association