Bamattre resigns *

Political theater plays out: Mayor Villaraigosa accepted the fire chief's resignation this morning. Just now William Bamattre faced the cameras at a station in Panorama City, said the politics got to be to much for him, and walked off surrounded by department brass. The Times says it was Villaraigosa chief of staff Robin Kramer who met with Bamattre and gave him the word that his time had come. Villaraigosa meets the media at 3 pm in City Hall. LA Observed will be there.

* Update: Villaraigosa confirms at his press conference that Bamattre's departure was a joint decision reached in discussions with the mayor's office this week. The chief gets to stay on the payroll until the end of the year, then reverts to retirement status sometime next year. Villaraigosa saluted Bamattre as "a class act..a dedicated public servant," but said the fire department needs a "change agent" at the top who will eliminate hazing and root out racial and sexual harassment in the ranks. No timetable was announced for naming Bamattre's replacement. An interim department head could be named shortly, but Villaraigosa said an international search would begin for the next chief.

Bamattre's message to firefighters is at the LAFD blog.

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