YUMA, Ariz. - In a News 11 exclusive, City of Yuma administrator Greg Wilkinson explained the controversy surrounding the Yuma Police Department awards.
Administrator Wilkinson said he did not threaten to take away the pay plans that City Council voted on in December while making the final call on Sergeant Henry Valenzuela not winning an award.
The administrator added the pay plans are what he is focused on.
"In fact, the draft budget has been done for several weeks," explained Wilkinson.
Last week, News 11 obtained a video where current Police Chief Susan Smith said Sergeant Valenzuela had been nominated for sworn Supervisor of the Year.
In the video titled 'Minute with the Chief', Smith said she knew the nomination would be controversial due to Valenzuela's accusations against the city and against Wilkinson. She added that Wilkinson said they did not want Valenzuela to be given the award.
Wilkinson said that part of his job is to make tough decisions but he is committed to rolling out the pay plans with city council. Even though Valenzuela said Wilkinson had threatened to take them away when he spoke with then-Chief John Lekan. This allegation was not mentioned in the video.
The city administrator added he saw the video before it was released and said it is all true.
Although some members of the community are asking him to step down, he explained that is not in his plans.
“My decisions are based upon what’s best for the community, best for the city and best for city staff in that order. I’ve always done that. My job is sometimes hard to make hard decisions. I have to make those decisions on what's best for the community, best for the city overall and best for all the employees,” said Greg Wilkinson, City of Yuma administrator.
Wilkinson also addressed the criminal complaint that he filed against Sergeant Valenzuela, who claimed he was being retaliated against.
"First of all, you need to understand, that if somebody attacks or threatens my country, my community, city staff or my family, I am going to respond. It's simply put, I responded to those threats and attacks," said Wilkinson.