Darien still mum on chief's status

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009
— The fired Darien police chief expects to continue negotiations with the village, the chief's attorney said.

The village board Tuesday night met with Chief Steve DeVoy in closed session. It was the first time DeVoy has talked face-to-face with the board since he was suspended with pay in December, DeVoy said.

The board took no action in open session after talking in closed session for almost three hours.

DeVoy declined to talk to the Gazette about the closed-session meeting. His attorney, Tom Halloran, said they are "encouraged" that negotiations could be possible.

Halloran described the meeting with the board as an "informational session" that let board members hear DeVoy's side of the story. DeVoy and Halloran left the meeting after an hour and a half.

Village attorney Mark Hazelbaker declined to comment about the closed-session discussion, other than to say the board gave him direction about the case.

DeVoy was suspended Dec. 1 after a village employee found two surveillance cameras in the police department. Some board members were concerned DeVoy didn't have the authority to have cameras installed.

While investigators studied the legality of the cameras, they found evidence they say shows DeVoy spent a large amount of time violating village policies.

In March, the board voted 5-2 to fire DeVoy.

Investigators compiled from department computers more than 8,000 documents supporting the decision, information technology expert Dean Williams has said.

The documents included racist and sexual pictures and comments and e-mails exchanged from DeVoy's computer that suggest a sexual relationship with a subordinate. Other documents were less offensive in nature, but the sheer size of the pile of documents was problematic, former village attorney David Danz said.

Six Darien board members to stand trial

Walworth County Judge John Race has scheduled a three-day bench trial for six current and former members of the Darien Village Board accused of violating the Wisconsin Open Meetings Law.

Board member Craig McCue has accepted a settlement and will not be tried, McCue said.

The trial will take place starting at 8:30 a.m. Nov. 9, 10 and 11.

Seven people have been charged with violations: Bob Metzner, Bob Wenzel, James Abbott, Phil Putman, Kurt Zipp, Allen Kenyon and McCue.

Abbott, Zipp, Wenzel and McCue are current  board members. Metzner, Putman and Kenyon lost their seats in April.

The charges are not criminal, but each man faces three counts, each carrying a forfeiture of $25 to $300.

The violations, according to sheriff's office investigative records obtained by the Gazette, are:

-- Not posting notice of an Oct. 24 session during which board members interviewed candidates for village administrator in a meet-and-greet type gathering.

-- Posting incomplete notices for Oct. 27 and Nov. 18 closed session meetings.

Assistant District Attorney Diane Donohoo offered two settlement choices to the six board members present at Tuesday morning's scheduling hearing, Putman told the Gazette on Tuesday night.

The choices were:

-- Reducing the charges to one count for the Oct. 24 meeting. The charge would carry a fine of $100 plus court costs of $169 per person, Putman said.

-- Charging the men with three counts at $25 each as well as court costs of $169 for each count, Putman said.

The group declined both offers, Putman said.

Metzner's request for a change of venue was denied because the request was not timely, according to online court records.

McCue on Monday accepted a settlement, he told the Gazette on Tuesday night. He pleaded guilty for the Oct. 24 count and will pay $100 and court costs, McCue said.

Last updated: 11:10 am Thursday, December 13, 2012

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