Blaine Police chief resigns after 169 days and receives $28,000 severance agreement

Only 169 days after being sworn in as the new chief of the Blaine Police Department, Allen Schubert resigned his post Monday and was given three months severance — approximately $28,000 — in a unanimous vote by the Blaine City Council during a special meeting Monday.

“Allen Schubert has decided to return to the Los Angeles Police Department and resign from his position as the Police Chief for the City of Blaine,” the city said in a statement provided Thursday by City Manager Michael Jones. “During his tenure with Blaine, he worked diligently on the recommendations outlined in the Loaned Executive Management Assistance Program and contributed to building a positive police/community relationship. We wish to thank him for that service and wish him the best.”

According to the agenda for Monday’s special meeting, the city council discussed “potential litigation pursuant to RCW 42.30.110(1)(I)“ in executive session.

“Chief Schubert did not file a claim of any kind against the city,” Jones told The Herald in an email.

The Herald asked James in an email Thursday afternoon which litigation claims were discussed in executive session and why Schubert’s severance package was covered there rather than in a meeting open to the public and has not received a response.

Once the council returned from a 15-minute executive session, according to an audio recording of the meeting, Jones said the agreement that was discussed in executive session included “a release of claims made against the city,” the severance package for Schubert and a brief statement from Schubert regarding his return to Los Angeles.

The council unanimously approved the agreement.

According to Schubert’s Linkedin post, he assumed command of the Blaine Police Department on Aug. 20. He came to Blaine after nearly 20 years with the Los Angeles Police Department, most recently as a lieutenant in the Transit Services Division. There, Schubert ran the night watch, which is tasked with protecting 1.5 million daily commuters on the city’s rail lines and bus routes, according to his National Police Foundation profile.

When Schubert was hired by Blaine, Jones told The Bellingham Herald, the city developed a four-month agreement with Schubert, allowing him to continue with the LAPD three days a week and work four days in Blaine at 80 percent of his normal salary.

“This is not typical, but it helped Allen complete the last several weeks of his 20th year at LAPD,” Jones told The Herald.

According to an amended version of the city’s contract with Schubert presented at a July 9 city council meeting, the “Transitional Period” allowed him dual employment until Feb. 1, 2019, and set his salary at $9,417 per month. Starting on Feb. 1, Schubert’s contract said he was to be exclusively employed with city of Blaine.

According to a story on Schubert’s departure first reported by The Northern Light, Schubert did not comment on whether his continued work at the LAPD factored into his decision to leave Blaine.

Jones told The Herald that the city will try to find a replacement for Schubert as quickly as possible, “which likely means about four months.”

During the special meeting, Jones said a decision was still being made whether to hire a temporary chief from outside or inside the department and that he was reaching out to Whatcom County Sheriff Bill Elfo about bringing in a “loaner and some administrative staff from the county.” He also said city management salary structure for the police chief was being evaluated compared to the Association of Washington Cities salary structure for similarly sized cities.

The city paid consulting firm Prothman Company $17,500 to help with the search for Schubert, Jones told The Herald, and the contract includes an 18-month warranty, “meaning if the person hired does not stay in the position for at least 18 months, for any reason, the Prothman Company will conduct the search again at no charge.” The city will have to pay for direct expenses of a new search, such as travel or background searches.

A call to Schubert’s cell phone Thursday went directly to a voice mailbox that was full.

David Rasbach joined The Bellingham Herald in 2005 and now covers breaking news. He has been an editor and writer in several western states since 1994.
Reporter Denver Pratt joined The Bellingham Herald in 2017 and covers courts and criminal and social justice. She has worked in Montana, Florida and Virginia.