2007-07-14 / Editorials & Letters

'Watchdog' says police rehire is a liability for the village

Editor:

In my last letter, I wrote about a meeting I attended concerning a complaint about the Licking County Planning Commission's Housing Rehab Program. Kirkersville Mayor/County Rehab Inspector Bennie (Jim) Evans has been inspecting jobs done by his son-in-law, Steve Piatt (also Kirkersville Council Member) via a company owned by his own daughter. But since my last letter, I have found that Piatt's name has been taken off the contractor's list at the county. I called the planning commission to see why Piatt is no longer on the list. Beth Jones, community development specialist, answered the phone, but said she was "not qualified" to answer my question and that I would have to talk to Director Jerry Brems or manager Warren Weber (who is also a member of the Kirkersville International Property Code Board). Though Mr. Weber did return my phone call, he would not give me a straight answer when I asked him why Piatt's name had been removed from the list. Personally, I would like to see a few names removed from the STAFF list at the county and replaced with personnel who would actually give taxpayers straight answers!

Speaking of staff and personnel… Chris Martin, one of the most aggressive police officersthat Kirkersville has ever had, has been rehired by Kirkersville Mayor Bennie Evans. If you recall, Chris Martin was said to be TOO AGGRESSIVE for the Buckeye Lake Police Department. This is the same police officerwho was shooting at another officerwith a pellet rifleat town hall IN FRONT OF CHILDREN! He was also the officerwho harassed and frightened my daughter at her home in Pataskala and the officerthat I had to call security on at the Licking County Courthouse after my son won a court case in which OfficerMartin accused him of running a stop sign. Please remember at election time, that the current council and mayor do not seem to care that an aggressive officeris a liability to all of us.

A couple of versions of a crash involving the Kirkersville Police cruiser have been floating around town. When I get the records, I will share the information, but I do know that the cruiser was wrecked in BROWNSVILLE while in pursuit of a vehicle. Could this be yet another liability?

In answer to my inquiry, Village Clerk Johnny (Bob) Adkins told me that Bob Frye is no longer the zoning inspector. He says that Frye never did any work as zoning inspector (in the 7 months he was employed) and thus never received any payment from the village. He also said that another zoning inspector has not yet been hired. But I suspect Bennie Evans will not have to look any farther than a hand's reach to finda replacement. There's no doubt that he will 'hand-pick' one of his GOB's (Good Ole' Boys) to fillthe spot. The only question is which relative, friend or coworker will it be? Bonnie Mansfield Kirkersville

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