Fayette village council 2013.03.20

Written 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.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
  • Front.chat
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2016