Harlingen city commissioner calls for police chief's termination

Harlingen City Commissioner, Robert Leftwich, has called for the immediate termination of Police Chief Danny Castillo, following a scathing letter he purportedly wrote to a local newspaper.

Making unfounded allegations against commissioners in a retaliatory position... I think he should not be given 6 weeks and I think he should be terminated immediately," Leftwich said.

Despite repeated requests, Action 4 News was not given a copy of the chief's letter.

But on the Valley Morning Star's website, Chief Castillo lashed out against City Manager Carlos Yerena who he said was ordered by "certain commissioners" to "dismiss him" for "political reasons."

The city manager has not yet returned a number of phone calls for an interview. Commissioner Leftwich is coming to his defense.

I think there was good faith effort to keep him in the department by the city manager but he chose himself to resign so he's basically leaving and abandoning the department," he said.

The chief agreed to stay on board for six weeks while the city hired his replacement.

Castillo apparently did not agree to go out quietly.

The city manager is called out by Castillo for his actions that "undermines" his public credibility and for "lies" which have ultimately caused detrimental effects on public safety and department morale, according to the letter.

Commissioner Kori Marra said she supports the chief. She believed the city manager's improper and politically motivated actions will have far-reaching consequences citywide.

If you think that's not going to have a trickle down effect... if you don't think that's going to effect city hall employees, planning and zoning department, code enforcement, fire department, water works... Of course it's going to effect every single department," Marra said.

The so-called forced resignation has turned into a public relations nightmare. It TMs already pit police officers against the city, according to Marra.

Just this morning I arrived at my office and there's a police officer waiting there to speak to me," she said.

Commissioners are divided as well.

She's [Marra] always politicizing and over exaggerating things," Leftwich said.

Yerena has the authority to hire and fire.

It's unclear if he will follow Leftwich's recommendation to immediately cut ties with the chief.