BUCKEYE LAKE- Buckeye Lake Mayor Clay Carroll announced Monday night that Police Chief James Hanzey planned to retire from the force, but then return Sept. 1, minus accrued vacation and sick time.
Council member and Personnel Committee chair Peggy Wells acknowledged the move would save the village some money, but wondered why, as committee chair, she had to learn about Hanzey’s plan on Facebook. “I’m a little disappointed” she wasn’t informed, she said, adding that community members were asking her about it before she knew it was happening.
“(Hanzey) mentioned to us a couple months ago he wanted to retire,” Carroll said. He said he mentioned it to council members while Wells was recuperating from surgery.
Wells said even though she missed two meetings for knee replacement surgery, she was available for communication. “Clearly this is a personnel policy decision,” she said.
“No ma’am it is not,” replied Carroll. He said the mayor hires the police chief and retirement issues are the mayor’s decision. Carroll apologized for not mentioning it to Wells, but said it was ultimately the mayor’s, not the personnel committee’s, decision.
Wells said it was a policy issue that should be made by village council. She said retire/rehire should be consistently applied, noting that former police chief Ron Small was denied a similar request.
Council President Jeryne Peterson said Small asked to retire, but return part-time with no significant changes regarding time off and benefits.
Council clerk Valerie Hans said Hanzey would continue to receive health insurance benefits through the village until he’s old enough to be eligible for them through his retirement benefits.
In other village news:
• Council member Barry Herron said he is preparing for an upcoming finance committee meeting. “There’s a real possibility the village could run out of money by the end of the year,” he said. Herron said he wasn’t sure if that was just a “perception” or a real possibility, but he would look into it and determine by the finance committee meeting if the village would indeed be broke by 2015.
• Council member Arletta Ruton said the Buckeye Lake Fire Department’s Back to School Bonanza Aug. 16 was successful. She said it helped to equip roughly 175 children with back to school supplies. “It was an eye opening experience for us,” she said.
Ruton said she was surprised at the number of grandmothers who had custody of their grandchildren. One grandmother had custody of six grandchildren. “We had people who arrived (at the event) an hour ahead of time,” she said, thanking everyone who helped and donated to the cause. “It was a great event.”
Former council member Charlene Hayden thanked Buckeye Lake firefighter Casey Tucker and other department members for their help with the event. “I appreciate the time they gave to make this event a great success,” she said.
“That was a wonderful thing,” said Herron.
• Wells thanked street department employees for their efforts, particularly in clearing trash from streets. “Every day our village streets are picked up,” she said, adding that she wanted street department personnel to know the council appreciated their work.
Wells also asked council members to “do their homework” and review the “spec books” with the plans for resurfacing village streets following the installation of the public water distribution system.
Carroll said village personnel found the spec books and they would be available for public review at the Village Office. However, the specbooks cannot leave the Village Office.
Village officials continue to debate whether to file a lawsuit against M-E Companies, the Westerville -based engineering company that designed the village’ s water distribution system and managed the separate street paving project that followed installation of the distribution system.
M-E listed its scope of work on its invoices for the street paving project as: “Buckeye Lake street paving includes detailed plans and specifications, cost estimate, assistance with OPWC funding, contract documents and bidding forms, bidding process, construction administration and inspection.” Total payment to M-E was set at $85,000 for the street paving project.
As soon as paving work began, The Beacon, in a series of editorials, demonstrated that the paving contractor, Chemcote, was ignoring key specifications such as thoroughly cleaning the surface before applying new asphalt, the use of a tack coat and thickness of the new asphalt surface. The editorials noted that these contract violations were repeatedly being done in the presence of M-E’s onsite inspector. M-E charged $70 per hour for its on-site inspector.
Repaved streets, starting with Cranberry Lane, began breaking up within months of the work. The work began in late July 2010 and was completed in October. Chemcote is believed to be no longer in business.