Janesville66.4°

DeVoy hearing still in limbo

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ANN MARIE AMES
August 21, 2009
— Don’t plan on attending a hearing Monday for fired Darien Police Chief Steve DeVoy.

Today, attorneys for DeVoy and the village of Darien rescheduled Monday’s hearing to Sept 14, 15 and 16. The hearing already had been rescheduled from July. It could be rescheduled or canceled altogether.


Confused?


You’re not alone.


“It is, to say the least, an unusual set of affairs,” village attorney Mark Hazelbaker told the Gazette.


A hearing has been pending to make official the village board’s March 7 vote to fire DeVoy. DeVoy has not worked in the village since December when he was suspended with pay.


The situation is “fluid” as both sides search for alternatives to holding a hearing, Hazelbaker said. Rescheduling the hearing would not stop the two sides from coming to an alternative solution, Hazelbaker said.


Neither Hazelbaker nor village board President Evelyn Etten would use the word “negotiations” or say the two sides are close to reaching a settlement.


“Under the circumstances, all options are being considered without rushing into a hearing,” Etten said.


The board’s last action on the matter was Aug. 11, when the board in closed session “listened to DeVoy give his side of the drama as requested,” Hazelbaker said.


The board voted in closed session to direct Hazelbaker, although he would not say Thursday what the direction was.


After talking with DeVoy’s attorney, “it became clear it would be inappropriate to expend money to prepare for and conduct the hearing scheduled for Aug. 24,” Hazelbaker said.


The Gazette was not able to reach Tom Halloran, DeVoy’s attorney, for comment.


Further confusing the matter is the fact that board member Craig McCue remains hospitalized at Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center, Milwaukee, Etten said. McCue suffered a stroke Sunday night, officials have said.


Because he is ill, McCue is not available to weigh in on the DeVoy issue, Hazelbaker said. That fact wasn’t part of the decision to reschedule the hearing, but it could be important as the village decides how to move forward, Hazelbaker said.


The discussion already has been a long one.


DeVoy was suspended in December after a village employee found a surveillance camera in a potted plant on her desk in the police department. A second camera was found as well.


Village officials were concerned that the cameras could be a liability for the village. An investigation ensued.


That investigation revealed thousands of documents that investigators say indicate DeVoy spent many hours violating the village’s computer policy. The board March 7 voted 5-2 to fire DeVoy based on that accusation and others, including that DeVoy did not lead the department and had a sexual relationship with a subordinate.



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