LORDSTOWN Councilmen's efforts to rescind the use of police group fails
The mayor will contact the association today to begin the search process.
By SHERRI L. SHAULIS
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
LORDSTOWN -- Despite an attempt by some councilmen to rescind authorization, Mayor Arno Hill plans today to contact the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police to help in the search for a new village chief.
Councilmen Dan Cuckovich and William Dray sponsored the legislation, but a 3-3 tie vote Tuesday to suspend council's rules made it impossible for council to act on the ordinance. Cuckovich, Dray and Richard Biggs voted to suspend the rules in order to vote immediately, while council members Karen Jones, Richard Morgan and D. James London voted no.
The ordinance, which only received its first reading, is designed to repeal legislation passed at the last meeting, allowing officials to use the advisory services of the chiefs' association to interview interested candidates. Current Police Chief William Catlin will retire March 2.
Hill broke the same 3-3 tie at that meeting, voting in favor of using the outside organization.
Because council was unable to vote on the ordinance, the previous ordinance is still in effect, meaning Hill has the authority to use the chiefs' association to interview candidates.
Council can still try and approve the new ordinance at the next meeting March 3. If it only receives second reading, though, council will not be able to give a final reading and vote on the measure until the March 17 meeting. If it is approved at that time, it will not go into effect for another 30 days, meaning it would be April 16 before the matter would be resolved.
Many residents and councilmen voiced opposition to using the association to interview applicants, saying they were against spending the $4,000 to $6,000 fee, and wanted administrators to hire from within, specifically Capt. Brent Milhoan.
"I say we hire Brent for a six-month probationary period, and if we are not happy with him, then we go to the association and spend the money," said Councilman Richard Biggs.
Gary Marburger of Elizabeth Drive presented Hill with a petition of 206 signatures asking for Milhoan to be hired as chief.
Frank Victor, of Highland Avenue and a retired officer from the Warren Police Department, said the village deserved the best candidate, especially someone with extensive experience. "We need someone who knows what they are doing," he said. "This is not a training seminar."
Mayor is unsure
Hill acknowledged receiving letters, phone calls and e-mails from several residents in favor of hiring Milhoan. He repeatedly told the audience he had nothing against Milhoan, but said he thought it best to have experienced people help find a candidate.
"Do I think he is a fine citizen? Yes. Do I think he is a fine officer? Yes. Do I think he is the best candidate? I don't know," the mayor said.
The chiefs association will interview anyone who submits an application and r & eacute;sum & eacute;, and then provide a list of the top four candidates.