McKINNEY — McKinney City Manager Jason Gray looked into the crowd at Tuesday's City Council meeting and saw himself.
Several residents wore stickers and held signs featuring Gray's face with a big red line through it, to express opposition to his termination of their longtime police chief.
Doug Kowalski led McKinney's police force for 12 years. Last week, Gray fired him.
Following the private termination, Gray posted a video on YouTube announcing the leadership change to the rest of the police department.
After listening to people criticize his decision, Gray said he would learn from it, "to an extent ... to the extent it is productive. To the extent that it's personal about me or other staff members, frankly that's nothing for me to learn from. I am hopeful this community can learn from the non-productive nature of personal attacks."
After terminating Kowalski, Gray promoted his deputy city manager Joe Williams to police chief.
"Never have I seem such disrespect for someone who has given 12 years of his life to this city," Ann Mason told Gray. "What I have a problem with is the way you did it."
Gray explained that Kowalski had problems communicating with the city manager's office, and didn't always have consistent discipline within the department.
Several City Council members defended Gray's decision, but admit that it could have been handled better.
"This council is responsible for seeing that we communicate with the public, that we have good, open communication. And at that, ladies and gentlemen, I admit, I failed you," said Council member Roger Harris. "I will work diligently to see that is straightened out as fast as possible."
Williams was hired on a full-time basis. Some said Gray should have instead conducted a nationwide search to fill the chief of police position.
Chief Williams told News 8 his department is running smoothly and he's anxious to get out and meet the public, even if he is met with a lukewarm reception.