Clinton controversy eases; Hooker might stay on as administrator

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Frank Schultz
Tuesday, November 21, 2017

CLINTON—As the holidays approach, the village of Clinton seems to be experiencing a kind of peace it hasn’t seen in months.

Controversy has bubbled at high boil over accusations that village police officers were overzealous in enforcing traffic laws.

The village board on Monday talked to some of the business owners who were among the critics, and the two sides came to a meeting of minds, said Connie Tracy, village board president.

And the police chief/village administrator, who last month said he would step down from the latter position because of personal attacks over the controversy, said he’s willing to reverse his decision.

Chief David Hooker said Tuesday that he was gratified when the board would not accept his resignation.

“Some of the business people supported the board in trying to keep me. I’m humbled to say the least,” Hooker said.

The board voted unanimously to put money in the budget for a village administrator and appointed Tracy to negotiate with Hooker, Tracy said.

Hooker seemed positive about sticking with doing both jobs, but he couldn’t say much because negotiations were continuing.

The board allocated $60,000 plus benefits for the village administrator position in 2018, but the full amount would be used only if another person were hired, Tracy said.

Hooker’s chief salary last year was $63,300, and the board voted to increase it to $70,000 in 2018, Tracy said.

That’s a 10.6 percent increase. Tracy said Hooker has been one of the lowest-paid chiefs, if not the lowest, in the area.

Hooker was paid about $17,000 for village administrator work last year, Tracy said, and the negotiations will determine how much Hooker would be paid if he agrees to continue in both jobs.

“Our plan is to keep him as long as we can,” as administrator, Tracy said.

The board plans to explain to village residents that holding both jobs does not constitute a conflict of interests, which is a criticism that has been leveled, Tracy said.

Hooker said he’d like to continue with projects started in the past year, including a possible housing development on village-owned land.

People have expressed interest in moving to the village in southeastern Rock County, but housing is scarce, Hooker said.

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