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Hoping to silence a public "war of words," members of the Salt Lake City police union voted Wednesday to delay any formal denouncement of Chief Ruben Ortega's management style.

Instead, the union will wait until mid-November to decide on conducting a membership vote or petition against the chief's leadership, according to Salt Lake Police Association president David Greer."We feel it would be appropriate to table any action at this time," said Greer. "This will give us time to meet and resolve many issues . . . we're moving on."

Union leaders blame Ortega for a drop in department morale, saying he has intruded on officers' personal lives and meted out unreasonable discipline. The chief has questioned claims of low morale - saying his administration has raised the standard of living for officers and placed the department on the technological "cutting edge" of police work.

In the closed three-hour meeting Wednesday, about a third of the union's 212 members also extended a vote of confidence for the group's officers.

"We wanted to send a message that the union is in touch with what's going on," said Greer.

Union representatives said they hope to continue talks in the next few weeks with city attorneys to address Ortega's leadership style. Officials also want to resolve pending cases of disciplined officers who have filed appeals.

Wednesday, Greer complimented Ortega's efforts to upgrade the department's budget, increase manpower and modernize equipment but added "we're the ones who have to do the job and we need to feel like we're being treated well."

Ortega was not available for comment Thursday.