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Burbank police union's leader let go

No comment on departure of president, who was on administrative leave.

July 24, 2013|By Alene Tchekmedyian, alene.tchekmedyian@latimes.com

The president of the Burbank Police Officers' Assn. was fired Friday, nearly two months after being placed on administrative leave.

Officials confirmed that Officer Mark Armendariz's last day as a city employee was Friday, though they declined to discuss details of the "separation," said city spokesman Drew Sugars.

Burbank Police Sgt. Claudio Losacco, former vice president of the association, has assumed the role as union president.

The union "takes all discipline matters seriously" and will ensure that Armendariz "is afforded all the rights provided to him by law," Losacco said in an email.

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He declined to comment further because it was a personnel matter.

Armendariz could not be reached for comment.

News of his termination came just days after his pre-disciplinary hearing with city management.

According to Burbank Police Chief Scott LaChasse, a second officer within the department was also placed on leave within the last few months, though he declined to name the person. That employee has already had a pre-disciplinary hearing, but the case remains ongoing.

Neither case involves allegations of criminal conduct, according to LaChasse.

Armendariz's leave came early last month, during the same week LaChasse was sworn in as the city's permanent police chief, a position he was appointed to in April.

The appointment had come as a surprise to Armendariz, who at the time called the move "disappointing" because city officials hadn't continued the police chief recruitment process that began last fall.

The search for a new chief was put on hold last September after the departure of City Manager Mike Flad.

Armendariz also opposed LaChasse's decision last fall to make permanent two captains and a deputy chief that were recruited from the Los Angeles Police Department. Armendariz contended that doing so bypassed Burbank's civil service system and passed over colleagues who had spent their entire careers working toward the promotions.

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Follow Alene Tchekmedyian on Google+ and on Twitter: @atchek.

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