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Darien will review police applicants

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ANN MARIE AMES
August 18, 2009
— The Darien Village Board on Monday night struck a compromise with Sgt. Mike Maltese.

Sort of.


The board voted to have the village’s police committee start to review the list of applicants for part-time police work in order to make a recommendation to the board. Maltese has about 65 applications on file, he said.


Board President Evelyn Etten will forward to Maltese the name of a person who allegedly is ready to work part time for the Darien Police Department, although it was not clear to anyone at the meeting who that person was.


The board did not approve Maltese’s request to start interviewing potential part-time officers.


Maltese said the police roster is “getting thin” in the small village.


Five people are working full time for the department, although one of those is on sick leave because he was injured in a motorcycle accident, Maltese said.


A sixth person, Chief Steve DeVoy, has been suspended with pay since December.


Maltese has been the acting chief since then, although he has not gotten a pay raise.


The department normally has up to five part-time officers whom they call as needed, Maltese said. Full-time officers get first dibs on shifts.


Currently, the part-time roster is down to two names, he said. One of those is officer Craig Konopski. The board in April voted to take Konopski off the part-time call roster. Then village officials learned Konopski had been in training with the National Guard when he was terminated.


Federal law prohibits changes to employment status for members of the Guard who are training or on active duty.


The board in June voted to put Konopski back on the call list.


Konopski turned down one offer for hours but was able to accept another and has recently worked in the village, Maltese told the Gazette after Monday night’s meeting.


Maltese said he has had a hard time filling shifts because of the shortage of part-time officers. It might get even harder during Darien’s biggest annual weekend—Cornfest—which is Sept. 11-13.


When no part-time officers are available, full-time officers work overtime to cover the shifts.


That adds up in money spent as well as stress to officers, Maltese said.


Etten and board member Debi Olmstead said they were opposed to interviewing new officers when one person already has ordered a uniform and is ready to work.


Nobody seemed to know whom Olmstead and Etten were talking about.


Etten said she recently got information that indicated DeVoy hired a part-time officer right before he was suspended. DeVoy never told Maltese that he’d hired someone, Maltese said.


Etten on Monday night did not know the name of the person but said she would get the name and phone number to Maltese and Administrator Marc Dennison.


In other news

-- The public safety and police committee will talk about whether to create a police commission in Darien. The committee meets Sept. 9. The discussion could take several months, committee Chairman John Evans said.


-- The board Monday night directed Dennison to send out a letter requesting proposals for a village attorney. The letter will include several questions—including a request for references and for fees—and will be mailed to dozens of local law offices. Attorney David Danz in July resigned from his position as the village attorney, although he continues to help as needed. He was at Monday’s meeting.


-- Village board member Craig McCue was absent from Monday’s meeting. McCue had a stroke Sunday evening and is recovering at Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center, Milwaukee, Olmstead said. McCue, 55, was alert and talking in the hospital, Olmstead said, but suffered some paralyzation as a result of the stroke. It’s not clear how long the paralyzation will last.



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