2008-05-24 / Editorials & Letters

'Watchdog' checking on police

Editor:

A local newspaper reported that Chris Martin has been appointed as "Interim Chief" of police by the Kirkersville Village COUNCIL. After the two hour executive session was over, council moved and voted to hire an Interim police chief. There was no recommendation or appointment by the mayor; it seemed as though he had been silenced.

ORC 737.15 states "Each village shall have a marshal, designated chief of police, appointed by the MAYOR with the advice and consent of the legislative authority." Although the public was sitting upstairs and the executive session was going on downstairs, you could hear raised voices and it was obvious there was a lot of anger. I can truly imagine what must have occurred in the executive session since I have been in those situations myself.

During this executive session, Debbie Kenney came upstairs to "get a statute." I believe that she and Bennie Evans were working on the gray side of the law to suit Evans' agenda as was the case in the past. When I was a council member and Evans was mayor, we went through the same thing over and over. Council wanted to hire a police chief to replace Bob Frye, but Evans insisted that the MAYOR hires the police chief and council then accepts it. It seems as though Ms. Kenney is looking out for the GOB's rather than the best interest of the village. In fact she did state in one meeting that she works for the village officials.

According to a local paper, Martin's top priority was to "kickstart" the police department. However, it went on to say that he would not have the department running until the following week. I suspected that the delay meant there was a problem with the officers, just like there had been in the past! I asked Martin to verify if they were qualified to carry guns. He stated, according to their personnel files, the last time they qualified to carry guns was July 2005! They received updated gun qualifications on Sunday, May 18, 2008. (In the state of Ohio, a police officerhas to qualify every 12 months.) It's not hard to see why Mayor Ashcraft shut this police department down! No insurance on auxiliary officers; not qualified to carry a gun - Bennie Evans, as MAYOR, didn't do his job!

I asked for the training and qalifications from Chamberlain's personnel fileand was told that his personnel filecould not even be found! This didn't surprise me because when Bob Chamberlain and Bob Frye left the Village of Chauncey, according to a Chauncey official, their personnel files also left with them.

Bill Harper took pictures of some of the citizens at the council meeting. He was a part of creating council rules which limits ANYONE to a certain area of the council room with cameras or tape recorders and now he should be ordered to follow those rules! He also needs to be reminded that he is a public officialand is held to a higher standard when it comes to his actions.

I'm proud of Council member Rosie Frischen for speaking her mind about the town hall and trying to do what was right. A church wants to buy the town hall building. Bennie Evans does not want to sell it and asked each council member to give their opinion. Frischenís opinion differed from Evans and she included that she should abstain from voting on this issue since she was a member of the church. Evans has attended the same church but said that he would vote against selling the building rather than abstain. I believe Ms. Frischen has pulled Evan's hand out of her back and, therefore, is off my list of GOB's. Mike Cloud, Tom Fredericks, Jamie Cloud, and Brian Denton should follow her lead.

It has been implied that as long as Bennie Evans is a village officialthe voters will not renew an operating levy. During the council meeting, Bennie Evans tried to convince everyone that the village is well off (quoting figures that I believe included the sewer income which cannot be included in the general fund) as though the operating levy failure was of no concern to him. However, he was concerned about the operating levy during his re-election campaign and told everyone that "services would be cut" if the levy didn't pass. What services were cut? Gun qualifications for the police? But services like the $30 per hour Computer Jerk haven't been cut; paying the Zoning Inspector to come to meetings and say nothing; paying for an assistant to the village clerk; paying for someone to take the zoning minutes. In that same story, Bennie Evans also said, "I always said if the majority of the voters wanted me out, I'd be gone." Say what you mean and mean what you say! SÕ.. GO, Evans, GO! Bonnie Mansfield Buckeye Lake

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