Council approves payout for retired police chief

By Nick Walton -

ST. PARIS – The St. Paris Village Council approved a payout for former police chief Jim Pence along with other police-related action during Monday’s regular meeting.

During the Aug. 1 meeting, council was informed that Pence requested to be paid for sick and vacation payout due to his retirement. Pence’s sick qualifying hours added up to $3,256, while his vacation qualifying hours added up to $4,884, for a total of $8,140.

Council tabled action on the request.

On Monday, council continued the discussion over how paying Pence would impact a line item responsible for paying the police chief and sergeant positions.

Temporary fiscal officer Richard Ford said the village has enough money to make the payout and pay Sgt. James Wilkson through the end of the year, but it would put them in a pinch on what is available after that.

Council unanimously agreed to the payout in the full amount, 5-0. Council member Tyler Adkins was absent.

Council also approved placing a job posting on the police chief vacancy in different publications and job search outlets.

Council dissolves police chief committee

Council agreed to dissolve a committee responsible for interviewing candidates for the vacant police chief position.

During the July 18 meeting, council formed a committee tasked with creating a job description for advertisements, interviewing and suggesting a candidate for hire to the mayor. The members of the committee were Mayor Joe Reneer, council members Tyler Adkins and Niven Jester and resident Tim Bierbaugh.

During the public comments portion of Monday’s meeting, a resident expressed concern over a committee member being on the committee despite committing a crime. The name of the committee member was not brought up by council or the resident.

According to the Champaign County Municipal Court’s website, Bierbaugh pleaded guilty to a fourth degree misdemeanor menacing charge in September 2014.

Council proceeded to go into executive session. Upon their return from executive session, council voted to dissolve the police chief hiring committee 4-0 with Jester abstaining from voting.

Pony Wagon auction

The idea of auctioning off items the village has during the Pony Wagon Days Festival was brought before council following a suggestion by Reneer.

“Where I based that off of was every 4th of July the Urbana Police Department has a police auction and there was tons of people up there this year,” Reneer said. He said he spoke with the Pony Wagon Days committee and they loved the idea.

Village Administrator Joe Sampson said an example of an item that could be sold is a generator the village removed from the wastewater plant.

Sampson said he feels an inventory list of items that would be sold needs to be approved by council.

Council authorized Reneer and Sampson to move forward with the process for the village to auction items off during the festival.

Next meeting scheduled for Aug. 29

Council agreed to hold their next regular council meeting on Aug. 29.

Reneer noted the next scheduled council meeting would have fallen on Labor Day.

Council will also hold a post audit meeting at 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 22.

By Nick Walton

Nick Walton can be reached at 937-652-1331 Ext. 1777 or on Twitter @UDCWalton.

Nick Walton can be reached at 937-652-1331 Ext. 1777 or on Twitter @UDCWalton.

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