Fayette village council 2013.03.20

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Fayette village council members focused on police issues at their meeting Wednesday, including hiring a new officer and a traffic violation by the chief.

Councilors gave their support at a committee-of-the-whole meeting March 13 to hire a full-time police officer to bring the staff back to three. Council is expected to vote on the hiring at the regular March 27 meeting.

Police chief Jason Simon recommended hiring a current part-time officer who has done a good job for the village—if he’s available.

The officer is also in line for another job and may choose that one, Simon said, although he has stated a preference for raising his children in a smaller community. He’s willing to relocate to Fayette at the end of the school year.

Council member Julia Ruger stated her support for the new officer, but wondered if the hiring might be coupled with a reduction in total hours covered by police. A review of the annual statistics showing when calls to police are generally made could give guidance to reduce coverage.

She also wondered about compensation procedures to have officers on call but not actually on duty.

Mayor Ruth Marlatt asked if the county sheriff’s department could be called when a Fayette officer is not on duty. That could be done, Simon said, but at a cost. A contract for services would have to be signed. Deputies often serve as back-up help for an incident, but not as the primary responder. The response would likely be slower unless a deputy was in the northwest part of the county when a call came in.

Chief Simon spoke of the continuing difficulty he has scheduling part-time staff because they often have other obligations. Several part-time officers have been lost in recent months when they accepted full-time positions elsewhere, and two others might soon be leaving.

Simon said there are at least nine officers currently working with Fulton County departments who initially started with Fayette.

In addition to a new full-time officer, he also suggested hiring two additional part-timers, if they can be found. A part-time crew is needed to control the amount of overtime for the full-time officers. Simon said the amount spent on overtime in the last three years is phenomenal.

“The money spent on overtime could, in itself, almost warrant another officer,” he said. “What it boils down to is not a new officer but a replacement. The third full-time officer is not a new position, it’s just replacing Troy [Stewart].”

“It makes sense to me to hire another person full-time and use part-time sparingly when you need them,” Ruger said.

INCREASE—The Public Safety committee also gave its support for Chief Simon’s request to raise the pay of part-time officer Josh Rodriguez to $12 an hour.

Simon said Rodriguez is in a supervisory position when the chief is absent and he deserves to have a higher pay than the other part-time officers.

ATTORNEY—The committee recommended renewing a contract with Mark Powers to serve as the village’s prosecuting attorney at a rate of $75 an hour.

CITATION—The final discussion from the Public Safety committee involved a complaint filed against Chief Simon for violation of the law regarding a stopped school bus with flashing red lights.

The driver of another vehicle that was stopped behind the bus on Feb. 20 reported the incident to the school. Because the alleged incident occurred inside the village limits, it was turned over to the county sheriff’s department for investigation.

Simon told council members that he had not been served a notice of the violation, but he urged the chief deputy at the sheriff’s department to move forward with the process.

“I’m no different than anyone else,” he said. “If I ran the lights, then I deserve a ticket.”

Simon said he will pay the fine and expect a written notice to be placed in his personnel file.

“I drive 25- to 30,000 miles a year around the village and I’ve only had one violation,” he said later. “I feel pretty good about that.”

SEWER WORK—Ruger said she’s heard more inquiries about construction on the former school property and wants assurance that it’s all right to dig there. The settlement with the school regarding contamination on the site declared that the area was to remain a green space and prohibited subsurface activities.

Village administrator Steve Blue said he met at the site with representatives from the Ohio EPA, the village’s engineering firm and Camille Ajaka who oversees cleanup for the property. There was agreement that the sewer work did not pose a problem.

DIKE—During a discussion about excess soil from the sewer project, council member Diane Brubaker asked if it would possible to place dirt along the south side of the running track on Eagle Street to prevent flooding onto the property.

  • Front.F.school
    PROGRESS continues on the agriculture classroom addition at Fayette High School. The project will add 2,900 square feet of space and include an overhead door that would allow equipment to be driven inside. The building should be ready for the start of school in August. Work on ball fields and a running track is also underway.
  • Front.rover
    CLEARING THE WAY—Road crossings in the area on the construction route of the Rover natural gas pipeline are marked with poles and flags as preliminary work nears. Ditches and field entry points are covered with thick planks in many areas to support equipment for tree clearing operations. Actual pipeline construction is progressing across Ohio toward a collecting station near Defiance. That segment of the project is expected to wrap up in July. The 42-inch line through Michigan and into Ontario is scheduled for completion in November. The line is projected to transport 3.25 billion cubic feet of natural gas every day.
  • Front.geese
    ON THE MOVE—Six goslings head out on manuevers with their parents in an area lake. Baby waterfowl are showing up in lakes and ponds throughout the area.
  • Accident
    FAYETTE resident Patricia Stambaugh, 64, was declared dead on the scene of a single-vehicle accident Friday morning south of Morenci. Rescue units were called around 9 a.m., but as of Tuesday, law enforcement officers had not yet determined the time of the accident. According to Ohio State Highway Patrol, Stambaugh was driving west on U.S. 20 when her Chevrolet Malibu traveled off the north side of the road and down a steep embankment, coming to rest in Bean Creek (Tiffin River).
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Face Paint
    FUN NIGHT FUN—Savanna Miles sits patiently while Abbie White works on a face paint design Friday during the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Gracie Snead watches the progress after having spent time in the chair. Abbie was one of several volunteer painters, each creating their own unique look. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.

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