Santa Maria Police Chief Danny Macagni has been placed on paid administrative leave as a result of an undisclosed personnel matter, City Manager Rick Haydon confirmed Wednesday night.
Macagni, a longtime veteran of the Santa Maria Police Department who has served as chief since June 2003, was placed on leave effective immediately, and Commander Craig Ritz has been tapped to run the department, Haydon said.
Haydon, who said he made the decision to place Macagni on leave, added that he doesn’t know how long the leave will last. He would not comment further.
“Unfortunately, because of the privacy rights we afford all our our employees, and the Police Officers’ Bill of Rights, I cannot say anything more about this matter,” Haydon said.
Macagni has been the focus of considerable controversy during his tenure, including conflicts with some members of the city’s police union, which recently issued a no-confidence vote against him.
Macagni became the city’s top cop when his predecessor — the late John Sterling — ran into conflicts with then-City Manager Tim Ness.
Macagni did not immediately return calls seeking comment.