Describing it as "an agonizing decision," Menlo Park Police Chief Bryan Roberts said he's taken a new job in Draper City, Utah. He starts Aug. 6.
Hired a scant 23 months ago by Menlo Park, Chief Roberts started here in September 2010, confronting the San Bruno pipeline explosion his first week on the job. He was chosen from a pool of more than 30 candidates nationwide and started with a salary of $179,500.
Although Draper City, with a population of about 42,000, is larger than Menlo Park, the new job comes with a lower salary - Draper City will pay the chief $105,019 a year, according to the contract. Benefits include a cellphone and police vehicle that can be used for personal reasons as well as a matching 401K plan, and the city will cover payments into its retirement program. Sixteen weeks' severance will be paid if his contract is terminated without cause.
Chief Roberts had previously served for four years as second-in-command of the Citrus Heights police department in Sacramento County.
According to a press release from the city on July 5, he "implemented numerous organizational changes that reduced annual expenditures by over $700,000" by combining positions, changing shift schedules, and starting a community service officers program to respond to lower priority calls. He also led the department's social media initiative, the statement said.
"Bryan did great work for both the Department and the community and he will be greatly missed," said City Manager Alex McIntyre in the release. He said the city will conduct another nationwide search to hire a new chief.
The city's finance director, Carol Augustine, said the recruitment process cost Menlo Park $18,518 in 2010. The budget for the next talent search has not yet been established.
Chief Roberts said that he has family in the Salt Lake Valley area who urged him to accept the Utah position. He was not immediately available for comment.